The East Midlands is one of the most economically successful regions in the UK, with a diverse range of businesses and industries. However, the region has historically received less investment from central government than some other parts of the country.
This is set to change with the introduction of devolution, which will give the East Midlands more control over its own affairs. Chief Executives at Derbyshire County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Derby City Council and Nottingham City Council met recently to provide updates on key elements of the region’s proposed devolution deal, including transport, skills and adult education, housing, and net-zero.
Stakeholders representing a broad range of interests across the region – including business, universities and colleges, and emergency services – were given the opportunity to put questions to senior officers at the four councils.
The event was held ahead of several major devolution milestones over the coming months. For the proposed East Midlands Combined County Authority (EMCCA) to come into existence, new legislation is required from the Government, which is anticipated to be in place before the end of this year.
Detailed devolution proposals would then be sent to the Government for approval, meaning that EMCCA could be a reality from spring 2024, with the first-ever election for a regional mayor taking place in May 2024.
How will devolution benefit the region?
Devolution is expected to benefit the East Midlands in a number of ways. These include:
- Increased funding: The EMCCA will have a guaranteed income stream of at least £1.14 billion, spread over a 30-year period. This funding can be used to support local businesses in a number of ways, such as investing in infrastructure, skills development, and innovation.
- Greater control over decision-making: Local businesses will have more say in how the EMCCA spends its funding. This means that they can have a greater influence on the policies and initiatives that are implemented in the region.
- Improved collaboration: Devolution is expected to lead to improved collaboration between local authorities, and other stakeholders. This can help to create a more supportive environment for businesses to operate in.
- Attracting investment: The EMCCA will be able to attract more investment to the region, which can help to create jobs and boost economic growth.
Mel Barrett, Chief Executive at Nottingham City Council, said: “It is vital that we work closely with partners and stakeholders to ensure that our region makes the most of the new powers and funding that would become available as part of our once in a generation devolution opportunity.”
Video: Nottinghamshire County Council