Mayor could unlock millions of pounds in additional funding for Cambridgeshire, says Council leader

16 August 2016

Residents and businesses are being reminded that there is just one week left to have their say on a devolution deal which could see millions of pounds of funding, additional responsibilities and powers handed down from Government.

The devolution deal currently being consulted on would see a greater number of decisions on public services being made locally, rather than nationally, with an elected mayor working with the MPs and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough councils to deliver the best results for local people.

The proposed deal includes control over a new £600 million fund (£20million annually) to improve transport and infrastructure as well as £170 million to build more homes in the county to support people on lower incomes.

Other benefits for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, include:

  • A new £600 million fund (£20 million annually for the next 30 years) to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs
  • A new £100million housing fund to be invested over the next five years to build more homes, including affordable rented and shared ownership. This is in response to the need in the Greater Cambridge area
  • A new £70million fund to be used to build more council rented homes in Cambridge over the next five years because house prices are so high in the city
  • Build on the case to develop the Wisbech-Cambridge rail connection and the Wisbech Garden Town
  • Transport infrastructure improvements such as the A14/A142 junction and upgrades to the A10 and the A47, as well as Ely North junction. It would also support infrastructure development which will unlock the housing potential at Wyton and the development of a new Master Plan for St Neots
  • Creating a transport plan for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that helps to coordinate road, rail and bus services
  • Rail improvements, including a new station at Soham, (new rolling stock, improved King’s Lynn, Cambridge, London rail)
  • Investment in a Peterborough University with degree-awarding powers
  • Working with Government to secure a Peterborough Enterprise Zone – attracting investment from businesses, leading to more and better quality jobs for residents.

Seven councils and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership have joined together to ask Government for some powers, responsibilities and funding to be transferred from Central Government to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

To have your say on the proposals visit www.scambs.gov.uk/devolution.

A Combined Authority is a partnership where councils join together to make collective decisions that affect a local area. A Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority would include a councillor from each of the local councils and a representative from the Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough proposal would mean forming a Combined Authority that would include the following organisations – Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridge City Council and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership.

All councils would retain their sovereignty and continue to deliver services for residents as they do currently – even if part of a Combined Authority.

Once the public consultation concludes, responses will be reviewed and each council will then have to formally agree the deal later this year. This means the Government could give final approval to a deal before the end of the year.

Cllr Peter Topping, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This deal would provide us the money to build Affordable Homes we have planned more quickly. These are much needed for people on lower incomes who are struggling to buy or rent. We have sites identified and have been working closely with housing associations but the final piece of the jigsaw is the finance to get on with it.

“A mayor is really important to making sure we deliver the best results through devolution. As a former civil servant working with lots of Government departments I know that they do not always understand the demands and needs of a region or area. When it comes to accessing government money, the combined authority and the mayor working with local MPs can be a strong voice and deliver millions more investment into the area for the things, such as housing and better transport links, that we know we need. The Mayor will also be key in attracting private investment from our shores and overseas so business and our local economy can continue to flourish.

"I am also determined that we deploy existing officers and their skills from across the local authorities of Cambridgeshire to provide most of the necessary administration support for the Mayor. This is about creating a powerful voice for Cambridgeshire and its residents, not creating a new tier of government, and that is why I think we should back the deal."

“Turning our back now could see us lose out on millions of pounds of investment as well as further deals which will see more money and powers handed down locally where the Mayor can be directly held to account.”