Devolution for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire – switching millions of pounds in public spending power from Whitehall to local control – would be a “game changer” for the area, claims D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Chairman Peter Richardson.
Mr Richardson was speaking after yesterday’s (March 25) ‘Devo Day’ initiative, when Nottingham City Council Leader Councillor Jon Collins outlined to local business leaders how devolution for the D2N2 area – of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – would substantially benefit from devolved powers to decide issues over skills and employment, training, transport, housing, business investment and other matters important to local citizens.
The City Council leader also took to the Twittersphere yesterday evening, answering questions via the #NottmDEVO hashtag through Twitter on what devolution would mean for the D2N2 area.
Jon Collins (Leader) and Ian Curryer (Chief Executive) of Nottingham City Council (L-R) holding copies of the D2N2 Devolution Prospectus before embarking to London.
Both he and the D2N2 Chairman were part of a delegation, along with politicians and business figures from the two cities and counties, which met earlier this month (March) with Minister for Cities Greg Clark and his Labour Shadow Hilary Benn MP to formally open devolution discussions, which the next elected Government will have to take forward.
A ‘Devolution Prospectus’ has been published – setting out the D2N2 area’s argument to Government in detail – and can be read on the Local Enterprise Partnership’s website at http://www.d2n2lep.org/News/d2n2-devolution-prospectus
Commenting after Devo Day, Mr Richardson said: “I was heartened by the response we got in London, with support for our prospectus, which was better and stronger than I had anticipated.
“Whoever wins the General Election, they will look to move forward with it very quickly.
“This could be a game-changer for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, which will deliver some very significant opportunities for businesses.”
Councillor Collins has called devolution an “historic opportunity” for the area, which has broad cross-political party support.
Any Devolution deal would be conditional on city, county and most borough and district councils forming a ‘combined authority’; one serving Nottinghamshire and a separate one for Derbyshire. A combined authority is a statutory body which takes a collective councils’ approach to decisions on transport, regeneration and economic development.
The two new combined authorities which Derby and Derbyshire, and Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, are currently working towards are expected to come into effect by the end of this year (2015). It’s thought any new devolved powers held by these two combined authorities are unlikely to be developed until 2017 at the earliest.