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New county chiefs association chair vows to 'reboot devo agenda'

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Anthony May has vowed to “reboot the devolution agenda in shire counties” after being announced as the new chair of the Association of County Chief Executives (ACCE).

Nottinghamshire CC chief executive Mr May will replace Debbie Ward, who is leaving Dorset CC ahead the formation of a new council as part of reorganisation of local government in the county.

Mr May has vowed to work collaboratively across the sector in a bid to secure additional resources.

He said: “Our first priority must be to make a powerful case for long-term sustainable funding. The recent funding announced in the budget is welcome, but there remains huge uncertainty beyond 2021.

“Alongside this, the government’s fair funding review is gathering pace and it is essential that this allocates resources according today’s needs and addresses historic inequalities.”

Mr May also said ACCE would push for increasing the role of counties in regional growth by promoting their strategic role.

Upper tier councils in the East Midlands are seeking to develop a “strategic alliance”, while Leicestershire CC and Nottinghamshire CC are proposing to become county unitaries.

Mr May, who is also the chair of the Midlands Engine operating board, said the government’s forthcoming devolution framework and wider reforms to planning, housing and economic development should recognise the ability of upper tier councils to drive growth and investment at scale.

He added: “County areas are major economic powerhouses, producing 41% of England’s GVA and over half of our nation’s jobs.

“ACCE will make the case for government to reboot the devolution agenda in shire counties. It is crucial that the government now provides the sector with a clear framework and criteria for reform.”

Mr May also praised Ms Ward as he thanked her for her leadership of ACCE.

“She leaves a lasting legacy both locally in Dorset and nationally, transforming the county council during an extremely challenging time for local government and selflessly helping to pioneer the first local government reorganisation in almost a decade,” he said.

“ACCE’s sector voice has grown over the past 12 months under her leadership and I want to pick up where she left off.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • same old same old tune

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  • If “County areas are major economic powerhouses, producing 41% of England’s GVA and over half of our nation’s jobs", so are district areas! Usual one world view approach of arrogant county councils.

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