Devolution Deal Agreed
Cambridgeshire County Council has joined councils across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to support a devolution deal for the area. As a result of this the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority will be set up in 2017 with mayoral elections taking place on 4 May 2017.
The decision was made at an emergency meeting of Full Council on Tuesday 22 November 2016. You can see the agenda here.
Devolution is when certain power, responsibilities and funding are transferred down from Central Government to a local region.
This could mean that more important decisions are decided by a local combined authority rather than being imposed by Government as well as new funding. This current deal would include decisions on things like housing, transport and major infrastructure projects. Like other areas, such as Manchester, further devolution deals, powers and funding can also be negotiated.
Communities and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough were asked to have their say on the latest proposals and the results of this were debated by Councils across the areas and this has been shared with Government.
Around 4,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough had their say in a series of consultations. See the links below for the document sent to the Secretary of State.
What’s happened so far?
In March the Chancellor published an offer to 22 local authorities and one LEP for East Anglia Devolution. That deal was to form an East Anglia Combined Authority covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
You can read the initial East Anglia devolution deal on GOV.UK.
However since then, Cambridgeshire County Councillors voted to say that deal was unacceptable. Peterborough City Councillors voted to say that the deal offered by Government did not appear to be acceptable.
A Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution proposal
Building on the original government devolution deal, council and Local Enterprise Partnership leaders proposed a devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and put it out to public consultation.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough proposal includes forming a Combined Authority that would include the following organisations:
- Cambridgeshire County Council
- Peterborough City Council
- Fenland District Council
- Huntingdonshire District Council
- East Cambridgeshire District Council
- South Cambridgeshire District Council
- Cambridge City Council
- Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership
The proposal to Government to form a Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which has now been agreed and submitted to Government includes:
- A new £20million annual fund for the next 30 years (£600million) to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs.
- £170 million for affordable housing, including £100 million for affordable, rent and shared ownership – particularly in response to housing issues in South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City. There is a proposed specific £70 million fund to meet housing needs in Cambridge which Cambridge City Council have indicated would be spent on new Council housing.
- Supporting the delivery of the Wisbech Garden Town and the Wisbech-Cambridge rail connection.
- Providing new homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including affordable homes in Greater Cambridge.
- Transport infrastructure improvements such as A14/A142 junction and upgrades to the A10 and the A47 as well as Ely North Junction. Also it would support development at Wyton and St Neots.
- Rail improvements, including a new station at Soham, (new rolling stock, improved Kings Lynn, Cambridge, London rail)
- Investment in a Peterborough University with degree-awarding powers.
- A local integrated job service working alongside the Department of Work and Pensions.
- Co-designing with Government a National Work and Health Programme focused on those with a health condition or disability, as well as the long-term employed.
- To integrating local health and social care resources to provide better outcomes for residents.
- Devolved skills and apprenticeship budget – to give more opportunities to our young people.
- Working with Government to secure a Peterborough Enterprise Zone – attracting investment from business leading to more and better quality jobs for residents.
- Working with Government on the continued regeneration of Peterborough City Centre.
- This proposal to be the first in a series of proposals which devolve more funding and powers from Government to this area.
The Government says in order to secure a devolution deal, and the decision making powers and funding that come with it, there must be a combined local authority with a single person in charge, usually referred to as a mayor.
The combined authority would mean a sharing of certain powers to make sure decisions benefitted the whole area and how this is governed would be up to the authorities set out in the deal. Cambridgeshire County Council will keep its sovereignty and continue to deliver services for residents as we do currently – even if we are part of a combined authority
At the end of June 2016, Cambridgeshire County Council, alongside Cambridgeshire and Peterborough City councils and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, agreed to put these proposals out to public consultation.
The consultation involved a proportionally representative phone poll by Ipsos MORI, an online poll, business survey and views from public bodies and stakeholder.
The Ipsos MORI, online, business and stakeholders responses showed support for the principle of devolution. There was also support for new powers and funding over areas such as homes, jobs, transport and skills.
The Ipsos Mori poll, found:
- Support for the principle of devolution - 55% for and 15% opposed
- Should powers be devolved from Government to District, City and County Councils as part of a Combined Authority - 61% for and 15% opposed
- Support for a mayor as part of a combined authority to access the benefits of the proposed deal - 57% for and 25% opposed
The online poll found:
- Support for the principle of devolution - 55% for and 37% opposed
- Should powers be devolved from Government to District, City and County Councils as part of a Combined Authority - 44% for and 47% opposed
- Support for a mayor as part of a combined authority to access the benefits of the proposed deal - 31% for and 59% opposed
Business and stakeholders gave clear support for devolution, a combined authority to access the deal and an elected mayor.