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New East Anglia deals get £600m boost

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Two separate mayoral devolution deals for East Anglia, have been confirmed – and are worth almost £600m more than the original regional agreement which collapsed last month.

As reported by LGC, agreement was reached between government and council leaders last week on the two deals for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Norfolk and Suffolk.

It is hoped the improved offer will be more likely to secure backing from councillors who are reluctant to accept an elected mayor.

Details of the proposals, published on Friday, reveal the two separate combined authorities could receive an overall total of £300m over five years for housing and investment funds worth £1.4bn over 30 years to be spent on creating jobs, improving infrastructure and boosting economic growth.

This is £575m more than the original single deal, announced by chancellor George Osborne in March, which included £175m for housing and a £900m investment fund.

Key elements of the Norfolk/Suffolk deal:

  • £25m over 30 years for economic growth, infrastructure and jobs
  • £130m over five years for homes to deliver 10,300 homes
  • £225m transport budget over four years
  • £20m annual skills fund and £2m annual apprenticeship grant

Key elements of the Cambridgeshire/Peterborough deal:

  • £20m each year over 30 years for economic growth, infrastructure and jobs
  • £170m over five years to build 72,000 homes
  • Control of a £91m transport budget over four years
  • £20m annual skills fund and £2m annual apprenticeship grant

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Norfolk and Suffolk originally promoted their own devolution bids but were forced together by Mr Clark and Lord Heseltine during visit to Cambridge in February. They said at the time their separate bids lacked sufficient scale.

Under the new deals the two areas will continue to work together on the delivery of transport services and investment in roads.

Top tier authorities have retained their power of veto on transport matters in the revised deals. It means a plan or project will not go ahead if it does not meet their approval.

Both deals also include commitments to work with the NHS to integrate health and social care services, provide superfast broadband in rural areas and manage flood and coastal risk.

All councils involved are due to debate the new proposals before the end of June.

If approved a public consultation will be held throughout July and August.

Andy Wood, former chairman of Norfolk and Suffolk’s local enterprise partnership, who has led negotiations with government, said the settlement for the region is “one of the best in the country”.

He added: “The timeframes have certainly been challenging but I believe the proposed deals represent a great opportunity for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“Government has recognised the importance of East Anglia to the economy, and the different needs and opportunities of its town and cities.”

 

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