All councils in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, along with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, have now agreed to progress a devolution deal.
Devolution is when certain power, responsibilities and funding are transferred down from Central Government to a local region.
This will mean that more important decisions are decided by a local combined authority rather than being imposed by Government as well as new funding. This includes decisions on things like housing, transport and major infrastructure projects.
Before the councils took their final decision in November, communities and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough were asked to have their say on the proposals.
Around 4,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough had their say in a series of consultations. The documents sent to the Secretary of State are on Cambridgeshire County Council's website.
History of the deal?
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.
Concerns were raised over the proposed deal and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough began discussions with Government over a deal.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution proposal
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough proposal includes 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.
The deal includes:
- A new £20 million annual fund for the next 30 years (£600 million) 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 King’s 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 integrate 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.
Government said that 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 an elected 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.
We would keep our sovereignty and continue to deliver services for residents as we do currently – even as part of a combined authority.
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.
Next steps and more information
A draft order will be laid before Parliament to form the Combined Authority. In advance of that a shadow Combined Authority will help move things forward. The meeting dates and minutes from these meetings can be found on the County Council's website.
Mayoral elections are set to take place in May 2017.