Suffolk and Norfolk are set to benefit from record devolution deals worth more than £1bn in a move that will enable the counties to decide when and where is best to spend money using their intimate knowledge of their regions.
Suffolk will take control of a £480m investment fund over the course of the next 30 years, in addition to a multi-year transport settlement as part of the next Spending Review – the deal includes nearly £6m to renovate brownfield sites into beautiful but affordable homes, £3m to enhance energy efficiency and renewable generation, and greater compulsory purchasing powers. Suffolk will also preside over their Adult Education Budget, further supporting the devolution deal.
Norfolk will be handed £600m worth of investment for the same period, including £7m to support the regeneration of brownfield sites into housing for the local populace and £5.9m of capital funding in the next Spending Review to uphold the county’s housing, regeneration, and developmental priorities. Norfolk will also be handed control over their Adult Education Budget as well.
Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove MP, said: “Empowering strong local leadership is key to levelling up and ensuring we spread opportunity and unlock the economic potential of communities across the country.
“I am delighted to sign two further historic deals for Suffolk and Norfolk that will see communities handed hundreds of millions of pounds to use as they – not Whitehall – see fit. Ultimately it is local people who know what is best for their areas and it is my job to make sure local leaders have the levers to address the issues unique to them.”
These deals are just some of the first steps in the devolution revolution with the Suffolk and Norfolk agreements meaning that six of the 13 regions invited to negotiate devolution deals as part of the Levelling Up White Paper have now signed deals with the Government.
The new deals will now be subjected to local consultation and council resolutions to change governance models so that local electorate can directly choose their new council leader.
Cllr Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “This devolution deal is the first of its kind between the Government and a county council, making it a truly historic moment for Suffolk. The deal recognises Suffolk’s ambitions, would put more powers in the hands of local people and bring more than half a billion pounds of investment into the county.
“On the table are greater decision-making powers around transport, infrastructure, skills and more resources to help us achieve our net zero ambitions. Ultimately, this significant additional investment will improve the lives and outcomes of Suffolk’s residents.
“Devolution is a journey, not a one-off event. This deal for Suffolk is the first step towards an exciting future for our great county.”