Tuesday 18 January 2022
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Nottingham

Eight new jobs part of £450,000 Notts councils pot to consider devolution options

Eight key job roles to design and deliver a political devolution deal for the city and county will be created as part of a £450,000 pot from all nine councils in the area.

The fund has been set aside from the county, city, district and borough authorities as part of the devolution plans, with Nottinghamshire County Council’s policy committee expected to approve the funding this week.

Devolution deals agreed with the Government grant local councils more decision-making powers and funding from central Government to improve and direct services such as healthcare, public transport, infrastructure and economic regeneration.

Other areas of England, including Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands, currently have deals in place – bringing significant investment for major projects, including many listed in last month’s Budget.

Achieving devolution in the East Midlands has been unsuccessfully attempted in the past, however, and Nottinghamshire is now seeking a ‘county deal’ as part of the Conservative Government’s ‘levelling up’ plans.

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire economic prosperity committee, made up of key figures from the nine councils, agreed last month to set aside the funding from the Nottinghamshire Councils Rates Pool.

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All Nottinghamshire authorities have access to the fund, which is set aside to be used for economic development purposes.

This will be used to create eight posts, hosted by Nottinghamshire County Council, to develop the proposals.

It includes one programme manager, one senior communications officer, four project officers and two business support administrators.

Council documents state these eight roles will make up £310,000 for the initial 12-month period, with £100,000 budgeted for the programme costs, £30,000 for communications and a further £10,000 for expenses.

The documents reveal £180,000 will be provided from Nottinghamshire County Council’s share of the business rates pool, making up 40 per cent of the costs.

The seven district and borough councils will spend £38,571 each, totalling £270,000 and the remaining 60 per cent.

Nottingham City Council will provide “in-kind contributions”, as it does not have access to the rates pool, but documents do not specify the city council’s contribution.

Councillor Ben Bradley (Con), leader of the county council and MP for Mansfield, provided an update to Full Council on Thursday (November 26).

He told the meeting work on devolution is making “rapid progress”, with all nine Nottinghamshire councils having a “shared ambition for more powers and funding” from the Government.

This, he said, would help to “boost economic investment, improve the environment and tackle health and educational inequalities across our area”.

He added: “The county council, together with the city, district and borough partners, are all pulling in the same direction and are involved in writing this bid.

“The economic prosperity committee has already signed off a plan to release almost half a million pounds a year from the surplus [business] rates pool, to host a small team of staff to develop the proposals.

“That’s a fund specifically set aside for the committee to use for economic development purposes.

“If the deal comes to fruition, we will enter into a period of intense negotiations with the Government to clarify exactly what resources and powers we will receive and what will be agreed and expected to deliver with them.”

Nottinghamshire County Council’s policy committee is recommended to approve the new staffing for an initial period of 12 months, when it meets on Thursday, December 2.

 

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