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Councils to hold meetings to approve devolution consultation

The four largest local authorities in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will hold their own full council meetings to approve a public consultation on the East Midlands devolution deal.

Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire county councils and the two city councils in Nottingham and Derby will hold the meetings in the week commencing October 31 as the £1.14bn deal pushes forward.

Councillors on the authorities will be asked to approve the eight-week consultation, starting from November 14, to give residents in the region the chance to have their say on the deal.

The deal includes a guaranteed £38m per year for 30 years and several devolved powers to determine projects in the region, focusing on policy areas like education and skills, public transport, housing, healthcare and planning.

The consultation will run until January 9, 2023, before findings are taken back to council leaders to consider the views of as many as 2.2 million people.

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Nottinghamshire County Council will host an extraordinary full council meeting on Friday, November 4 to approve the consultation, with devolution to be the only item on the agenda.

Councillor Ben Bradley MP (Con), leader of the county council, said: “We have to formally approve the approach to the consultation, and we’ve agreed with the other councils that we will all do it the same week so papers are published together.

“Nottinghamshire County Council’s will be dead simple, with a single item on the agenda lasting probably 90 minutes tops.”

Nottingham City Council had already scheduled a full council meeting for Monday, October 31 and a council spokesperson has confirmed the agenda will include the devolution consultation.

Speaking on the devolution deal when it was signed in August, Cllr David Mellen (Lab), leader of the city council, said: “The Government is choosing to invest in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire.

“It’s choosing to give us more powers in our area and its choosing to follow that up with resources over the next 30 years.

“It won’t solve all of Nottingham’s problems, it won’t catch up with the under-funding of our council over the last 12 years, but it’s the way the Government is choosing to try to make things fairer.

“It’s about time Nottingham got its fair share.”

If successful, the wider devolution deal will include the creation of a mayoral combined authority, led by a directly-elected mayor, with representatives from the city and county councils on the authority.

Results from the consultation will be reviewed in January and February next year and the wider devolution document will be updated before the four councils meet in March to submit a “final proposal”.

Once the consultation has finished, the devolution deal – officially signed by local leaders and the Government on August 30 – will require Parliament to approve the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

This will give permission for the new form of devolution deal to be created.

Local leaders will then create a ‘shadow’ combined authority in spring 2023, which will draw up governance and policy arrangements for the new authority in time for it to be formed in full one year later.

An election to appoint a regional mayor is expected to take place in May 2024.

Derbyshire County Council has scheduled an extraordinary meeting to approve the consultation on Wednesday, November 2.

Derby City Council is yet to outline when its meeting will take place.

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