Devolution, skills, manufacturing and high speed rail were just a few of the topics covered by a panel of experts – including D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Chief Executive David Ralph – at an Insider East Midlandspowerhouse event this morning (September 24).
David and Councillor Anne Western. Leader of Derbyshire District Council; Cllr Graham Chapman, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council; and Professor Andrew Long, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham, made up one of two panels at the event – the other also being made up of key figures from across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire including Liz Fothergill, President of the East Midlands Chamber and D2N2 Board Member and John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby – set-up by the business news agency to debate and discuss with an audience what Devolution could mean for the two counties and the wider East Midlands, as well as the concept of an ‘East Midlands Powerhouse’. This morning’s event was held at the MediCity Nottingham business site in Thane Road, Beeston.
Devolution is the process of moving decision-making powers and controls over funding for an area, from central Government to local authority control; allowing an area to have more say over its own development.
(L-R) Councillor Anne Western, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 LEP and Graham Chapman, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council
This was debated and discussed at length this morning, with a broad range of views on the issue being presented.
On Devolution David Ralph, D2N2 Chief Executive, told the event audience: “We are in a much better place than we were a couple of years ago.
He added: “Our Devolution Deal needs to address a series of challenges such as how do we ensure our young people are work-ready; what are the opportunities to locate Tier One suppliers in the East Midlands, close to the centres of manufacturing and engineering and how can devolution help deliver HS2?”
Liz Fothergill, President of the East Midlands Chamber and a D2N2 LEP Board Member, said: “Devolution is a once in a generation opportunity.”
The idea of the East Midlands Powerhouse is the notion that the East Midlands can exist as a beacon of manufacturing job creation and industry; alongside the West Midlands, the North, London and the South. Both panels discussed what they wanted Devolution to deliver, with the first providing a business voice and the second a local government voice.
A Devolution proposal for the D2N2 area of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire was submitted to Government by the two counties’ 19 local authorities, the Local Enterprise Partnership and business backers on September 4.
If successful a Devolution Deal for the D2N2 area could deliver:
- 55,000 new jobs by 2023.
- Improved quality and quantity of homes across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire – helping delivering 77,000 affordable new homes.
- Improved frequency, integration and joint ticketing arrangements on public transport through London-style powers; as well as directly influencing improvements to motorways and major trunk roads in the area.
- Increased potential for East Midlands Airport, the second busiest freight terminal in the country after Heathrow, to increase international trade and passenger transport.
- More and better quality apprenticeships, tackling the root causes of long-term unemployment, and further reducing rates of young people not in education or employment.
- A speeded up planning process, making it more flexible in response to the different needs of the local areas.
- A localised, smarter energy strategy which is more sustainable and greener. This will include looking at both how to reduce energy usage and improve the production of energy by working with the universities to look at the latest technologies.
Any new devolved powers would be unlikely to be given to the D2N2 area until 2017/18 at the very earliest.
An issue that was raised this morning was the levels of bureaucracy involved in devolved powers, and all panellists on both panels were very keen that there should be no unnecessary layers of bureaucracy created through such an arrangement.
Media wanting further information on this news story should contact Sam Burbage, Social Media and Marketing Apprentice at the D2N2 LEP, on 01159 578254, or by emailing email@example.com