More from: Devolution: August 2015
BERKSHIRE: NO PLANS
POP: 878,431 GVA: £34bn
No obvious plans emerging.
BRIGHTON & HOVE: NO PLANS
No firm plans. Concentrating on its city deal.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE AND PETERBOROUGH: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
Leaders of all the local authorities wrote to the communities secretary Greg Clark on 22 July seeking to open discussions on a devolution deal. However, leaders have said they do not want a combined authority but want to explore alternative forms of governance. Peterborough CC is also promoting a skills and economic development partnership for its travel-to-work area which includes councils in Lincolnshire and Norfolk.
CHESHIRE AND WARRINGTON: NO PLANS
No devolution plans emerging but Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester councils and Warrington BC are continuing to develop their economic prosperity board.
CORNWALL: FIRM PLANS
Devolution deal agreed with the government in July, handing down powers over health, transport and EU funding.
CUMBRIA: NO PLANS
No obvious plans emerging. Some figures locally have floated the possibility of a Cumbria and Lancashire combined authority.
DERBYSHIRE AND DERBY: FIRM PLANS
County-wide combined authority bid has been approved by the Department for Communities & Local Government but leaders have now been asked by the Treasury to consider whether a single body covering the same footprint as the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, including Nottinghamshire, would be better.
DEVON, SOMERET, PLYMOUTH AND TORBAY: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
Somerset CC leader John Osman (Con) has called a meeting for this month of all leaders in the south-west region to discuss the shape of applications for devolution. However, Cornwall, Dorset and Wiltshire are doing their own things and Gloucestershire and ‘Greater Bristol’ have taken a few steps too, so the meeting may just turn out to be relevant to councils in Somerset and Devon.
DORSET, BOURNEMOUTH AND POOLE: ADVANCED DISCUSSIONS
Dorset CC is developing plans for a combined authority with the districts and Bournemouth and Poole BCs, which it is hoped will be approved in the autumn. It will cover economic development, transport, skills, housing delivery and coastal protection.
ESSEX: ADVANCED DISCUSSIONS
Essex continues to be a flashpoint with Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock BCs reluctant to commit to the county’s proposed ‘Greater Essex’ Combined Authority and continuing to float the possibility of a combined authority for the north bank of the Thames. However, all parties are now meeting regularly to discuss plans and the two unitaries have not ruled out working with the county.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
In February there was little appetite for a combined authority in Gloucestershire. However, last month the county council passed a motion on exploring devolution which noted “economic and social benefits of devolution are too significant to ignore”.
GREATER LONDON: ADVANCED DISCUSSIONS
Council leaders and the mayor have agreed a set of ambitious devolution demands that will form the basis of discussions with the government. They hope to agree a deal in time for the spending review in the autumn.
GREATER MANCHESTER: FIRM PLANS
The 10 Greater Manchester authorities were the first to agree a devolution deal with the government in November 2014. This has since been extended to include health and social care, another first. Budgets for this are due to be transferred by April 2016.
HAMPSHIRE: ADVANCED DISCUSSIONS
This was a ‘flashpoint’ in February’s map as Portsmouth and Southampton city councils and the districts in the south of the county wanted to turn their existing Partnership for Urban South Hampshire into a combined authority, leaving the rest of the county behind. An agreement has now been reached on a combined authority for the whole area but with internal devolution on economic development and transport to the PUSH area.
HERTFORDSHIRE: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
HULL AND EAST RIDING: NO PLANS
North and North East Lincolnshire councils both initially spurned the idea of a combined authority with Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council which was being floated in February. Hull’s leader has floated the idea of a combined authority for the whole of historic Yorkshire, but senior figures in South and West Yorkshire are not interested, with one privately describing the proposal as “crackers”.
KENT AND MEDWAY: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
In February then Medway Council leader Rodney Chambers (Con) said he would be reluctant to form a combined authority that would be dominated by Kent. Kent CC leader Paul Carter (Con) is understood to have talked to the communities secretary in general terms about devolving skills and health but there are no live devolution proposals. Efforts seem to be focusing on breaking away from the South East LEP to form a Kent only body which could take on more devolved powers over skills.
LANCASHIRE, BLACKPOOL AND BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
Discussions are continuing between the county council, its districts and the two unitaries. There has been some discussion about whether a combined authority could be formed with neighbouring Cumbria but this has not got very far.
LEEDS CITY REGION: FIRM PLANS
In March the chancellor announced a devolution deal for the Leeds City Region which was described as “disappointing” by the chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The sticking point was the area’s refusal to countenance an elected mayor but following the general election the combined authority announced plans to consult the public on the issue and discussions with government on a new deal are continuing.
LEICESTERSHIRE AND LEICESTER: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
Talks have started between the county, districts and city. The Treasury has asked councils in neighbouring Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, currently forming their own combined authorities, to consider working with Leicestershire. However, after receiving assurances from communities secretary Greg Clark they are pressing ahead with a Leicestershire-only bid.
LINCOLNSHIRE: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
Lincolnshire CC is having exploratory talks with neighbouring councils including North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire councils and Peterborough City Council, although the latter is developing its own devolution plans with councils in Cambridgeshire.
LIVERPOOL CITY REGION: FIRM PLANS
In advanced negotiations with the government over a devolution deal. Highlighted by the chancellor in his July Budget as somewhere likely to benefit from a deal in the near future.
MILTON KEYNES, BEDFORD, CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE AND LUTON: NO PLANS
No obvious plans emerging. Pete Marland (Lab), Milton Keynes leader, told LGC the area was a “bit stuck” as it is neither a city nor a county area and, though growing, is not big enough for a city region either. In addition, police, health and fire are all organised over different areas and Milton Keynes borders three different European regions.
NORFOLK: NO PLANS
Norfolk CC managing director Wendy Thomson was recently reported as saying the county would like to work with Suffolk on a devolution proposal, citing a preference by ministers for combined authorities to be coterminous with local enterprise partnerships. Suffolk has not ruled this out but is developing its own plans.
THE NORTH-EAST: FIRM PLANS
In advanced stages of negotiation with the government on a devolution deal but failed to get a mention in the July Budget due to resistance to an elected mayor. Leaders have since indicated a willingness to consider adopting an elected mayor.
NORTH YORKSHIRE: NO PLANS
304,232 (excluding districts in Leeds City Region) £11.8bn
Three of North Yorkshire CC’s seven districts, as well as the city of York, are part of the Leeds City Region Devolution Deal. Last month council leaders in the county called for Leeds to abandon this work in favour of a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal but this was roundly rejected by West Yorkshire, leaving the rest of North Yorkshire currently adrift.
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE AND NOTTINGHAM: FIRM PLANS
Like Derbyshire, the Treasury has asked the fledgling Nottinghamshire combined authority to consider whether it would make more sense to work with its East Midlands neighbour. Alan Rhodes (Lab), Nottinghamshire CC’s leader, said creating a single combined authority with Derbyshire would be a “challenge” but did not rule it out. However, he said the Treasury was not saying they could not proceed alone.
OXFORDSHIRE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE AND NORTHAMPTONSHIRE: ADVANCED DISCUSSIONS
The ‘tri-county’ has this week submitted a bid to win commitments on infrastructure spending and a five-year growth deal. Leaders also want to introduce a smart-ticketing system across the sub-region, integrate car parking and enforcement schemes, and bring together bluelight services.
SHEFFIELD CITY REGION: FIRM PLANS
Following the general election, local leaders have intimated they would consider adopting an elected mayor if sufficient additional freedoms were on offer. Negotiations with the government are continuing about an expansion of the devolution deal agreed last December.
SHROPSHIRE, HEREFORD AND TELFORD & WREKIN: NO PLANS
No obvious plans emerging.
STAFFORDSHIRE AND STOKE-ON-TRENT: NO PLANS
No firm plans. Staffordshire CC is talking to the established and emerging combined authorities that surround it but there is no obvious single partner at the moment. Its southern districts are working closely with the emerging West Midlands Combined Authority and ocould seek to break away from the county.
SURREY AND SUSSEX: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
In February Surrey was talking to its districts about a county-wide combined authority while East and West Sussex CCs were talking to Brighton & Hove. However, since the election the three counties have come together and have opened discussions with the government about what form a devolution deal could take. Brighton & Hove meanwhile told LGC it was concentrating on implementing its city deal.
SUFFOLK: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
The county council approved a paper back in May calling for a devolution deal for the county and districts. It has not ruled out working with Norfolk.
TEES VALLEY: FIRM PLANS
Discussions progressing with government. In May combined authority vice chair Bill Dixon (Lab) told LGC the area would adopt an elected mayor over his “dead body”. Last month the authority issued a joint statement with local MP and minister for the Northern Powerhouse James Wharton saying they would look again at the issue of governance.
WARWICKSHIRE: NO PLANS
No obvious plans emerging but watching the development of the West Midlands combined authority closely.
WEST OF ENGLAND: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
Despite the long-standing West of England Partnership between Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, progress towards devolution than in other city areas. Last month the partnership announced a review to explore governance arrangements if powers were to be devolved. This is due to take nine to 18 months.
WEST MIDLANDS: ADVANCED DISCUSSIONS
This was a flashpoint back in February as Coventry and Solihull were holding out on joining a combined authority awaiting the outcome of the general election. They have since agreed to join and plans for a ‘Midlands engine’ have got strong support from the government which is keen for them to progress quickly. There is uncertainty over whether some of the districts in Staffordshire and Worcestershire could also join, although this is being resisted by their respective county councils.
EARLY DISCUSSIONS WILTSHIRE AND SWINDON
Wiltshire Council would like a single county deal similar to that won by Cornwall, although they would be open to working with Swindon BC. Leader Jane Scott (Con) told LGC they would like a deal focused on the integration of public services including health and the police as well as powers over economic development.
WORCESTERSHIRE: EARLY DISCUSSIONS
A study has been commissioned to look at whether a combined authority for the county would be big enough or if councils should try to team up with neighbouring shires instead. It’s not expected to report back until after the chancellor’s 4 September deadline for the submission of significant devolution bids. In the meantime, the fledgling West Midlands Combined Authority is courting Worcestershire’s northern districts, including Bromsgrove where business secretary Sajid Javid is MP.