Major plans to secure devolved powers for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have moved a step closer after council leaders agreed to adopt a report which sets out their ambitious vision for devolution.
They approved the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Case for Devolution document at a meeting of the Economic Prosperity Committee in Newark today (Friday).
The far-reaching report outlines how leaders from the county’s nine councils will work in partnership to help boost economic investment, improve the environment, and tackle health and educational inequalities if a devolution deal is agreed.
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are pushing to be one of the Government’s pathfinder sites for devolution deals, with more details to be outlined in the eagerly anticipated ‘levelling-up’ white paper expected later this autumn.
Any devolution deal would not affect the status of the county’s councils, who would continue to provide local services to residents.
Nottinghamshire County Council leader, Councillor Ben Bradley MP, chaired today’s meeting and said he was delighted to meet with colleagues from across the county to move forward the proposals.
He said: “I’m really pleased that we managed to discuss our vision for devolution today and, by approving the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Case for Devolution report, we’ve now moved one step closer to what we want to achieve.
“However, there is a way to go yet and it’s clear from this meeting that we need to make sure that the voice of Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands continues to be heard loud and clear.
“Today’s agreement is a small but significant step in the right direction.”
Cllr David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, told the meeting he welcomed the document and said it showed ‘good progress’.
He continued: “I am really keen to be involved in those conversations with the Clinical Commissioning Groups to progress the health and social care work.
“I want to see more of a focus on early years literacy and further education. I want to also see more about a commitment to clean air.
“I am also glad to see the relationship with Derby and Derbyshire is mentioned. Our economies are complementary. That economic corridor is key, and we mustn’t lose that link.”
Cllr Simon Greaves, Bassetlaw District Council leader, said today’s meeting ‘was a starting point’ to further the case for devolution.
He said: “If there is an opportunity to enhance productivity in Nottinghamshire, I would think ministers will believe that’s a sensible thing. It’s very important we are meeting.
“I see this as a starting point. There is an awful lot of work to be done. I see this as part of a process but a positive first step.
“There is no doubt Bassetlaw has ambitious plans for growth and infrastructure and I’ll be fighting for my area.”
If a deal is ultimately agreed, powers would be handed equally to Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council to work in partnership with district and borough councils to take responsibility from the Government over major decisions and services.
A devolution deal could result in extra powers and money from Government to deliver a county and city-wide approach to improve investment in education and skills, transport and the environment, the economy and infrastructure, land and housing, health and social care, youth services and support to vulnerable young people and potentially much more.
Extra powers could also be gained to deliver community safety, tourism, and heritage, as well as better control over regulatory powers.