Plans to move forward with devolution in Norfolk have been given a boost as councillors will meet to decide on the transferring of powers and funding, this comes as the council cabinet has recommended that a deal be accepted.
An agreement in principle was signed by Norfolk County Council and the government last December, including an investment fund worth £20 million per year. A level three county deal, additional powers relating to transport, brownfield regeneration, and skills are also part of the plan.
Touching on the importance of this decision, Leader of Norfolk County Council, Cllr Kay Mason Billig, said:
“If we don’t take this step, I don’t believe the people of Norfolk will forgive us. We will be put at the back of the queue for further funding and will be left in the wilderness by Westminster.”
Four options were considered by the council’s cabinet following negotiations with the government and a period of public consultation. These were:
- Continuing with the current deal that has been agreed in principle, with this bringing forward a vote for a directly elected leader in May 2024. This would be a year before the county council elections.
- Delaying voting for a leader until May 2025, but continuing with the current in-principle deal. The government allowed this option to be considered and would see leadership elections taking place alongside the county council elections.
- Negotiating a level two deal with the government, which would see Norfolk unable to receive the £20 million per year investment fund and further powers for transport and brownfield regeneration. Adult education funding would, however, still be devolved to the county.
- Not proceeding with a devolution deal.
The second option is the one that the cabinet is recommending for acceptance by the full council when it meets on the 12th December.
Councillor Andrew Jamieson, Deputy Leader of the council, also commented:
“I’m extremely pleased we are recommending a full level three deal, to get all of the financial benefits and the devolved powers on offer to us.”
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