Plans announced today (May 14) by Chancellor George Osborne for legislation allowing “sweeping devolution’ for English cities have been broadly welcomed by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership – which has already been lobbying government for greater powers.
Speaking in Manchester today, Mr Osborne said legislative powers and the associated finance would be transferred from London to the “great cities of England”; in order for them to decide their own priorities on business growth, transport, housing and in other vital areas.
Mr Osborne added: “This is a revolution in the way we govern England, giving power to working people with local communities reaping the rewards.”
D2N2 Chair Peter Richardson
The new powers, which cities and regions will need to formally apply to government for, are set to be included in the Queen’s Speech at the state opening of Parliament, on Wednesday May 27.
D2N2 has already been working closely with business and local authority partners, to lobby government for devolution for the area.
In March (2015), D2N2 Chairman Peter Richardson joined a delegation from the area to London, to present Greg Clark MP – then Minister for Cities, now Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government – and his then Labour Shadow, Hilary Benn, with a comprehensive Devolution Prospectus for the area. A copy can be read on the D2N2 website at www.d2n2lep.org/News/d2n2-devolution-prospectus
Among the ambitions set out in the Devolution Prospectus are a:
- Free Trade Zone in association with East Midlands Airport, giving favourable tax treatment to maximise opportunities for trade and supply chain development in the area.
- £1billion regional investment organisation, set-up to help businesses access finance more easily.
- Housing Investment Fund, to jump-start stalled housing projects, particularly around affordable housing.
- “Rebalancing” of the public transport network, through the assumption of London-style transport powers.
Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement today, Mr Richardson said: “Devolution would be a game changer for our area.
“The Local Enterprise partnership is 100% behind it, which is why as an area we have taken an early lead on providing government with a well thought out Prospectus, setting out how we would use these new powers to boost economic growth.
“Our feeling is that we would want to see devolution benefit our whole area and we are keen to continue our dialogue with government, about the details of the legislation around these new powers.”
Nottingham and the other eight main Nottinghamshire local authorities, and Derby and its nine main Derbyshire councils, are each currently going through the process of forming a ‘combined authority’. The ‘N2’ and ‘D2’ combined authorities, set to come into being towards the end of 2015 – and which would enable a collective councils’ approach to decisions on transport, regeneration and economic development – are a precursor to then gaining devolution powers.
It is not expected that, if applied for, any devolution powers would come into effect for these two combined authorities before 2017, at the earliest.