Councillors to make final decision on devolution

Councillors from across the county will take their final votes on whether to complete the process for a devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough next week.

Full Council meetings will take place involving the seven councils set to form a new Combined Authority.

The first meetings will take place on Tuesday 15 November 2016 with Cambridgeshire County and Cambridge City Councils.

Huntingdonshire and East Cambridgeshire District Councils will meet on Wednesday 16 November followed by Peterborough City, South Cambridgeshire District and Fenland District Councils on Thursday 17 November.

The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP) board has already agreed to back the deal.

Councillors will be asked to endorse the devolution deal which includes significant benefits for the communities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including (further examples in notes):

  • 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 in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including affordable, rent and shared ownership
  • A new £70million fund to be used to build more council rented homes for Cambridge over the next five years because house prices are so high in the city

Councillors will also be asked to approve their council becoming a constituent member of a Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This is in order to transfer certain powers, responsibilities and new funding from central government to the Mayoral Combined Authority.

The Combined Authority will be a new organisation where the seven councils and the GCGP LEP will make collective decisions that affect the local area. A Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority would include a councillor from each of the local councils and a representative from the GCGP LEP.

In order to receive new funding and to make a greater number of decisions locally, Government has been clear that a Mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will need to be elected by residents to chair the Combined Authority.

Councillor Robin Howe, speaking on behalf of all council leaders in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “We believe, and Government has acknowledged, that this is one of the most ambitious devolution deals in the UK. The deal will make a huge difference to our communities with a £600million funding boost for infrastructure alongside vital new money for housing and new powers to help to create better quality jobs and improve skills.

“If agreed, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is set to secure hundreds of millions and we are committed to creating a lean and effective authority to achieve the best deal for taxpayers.

“Overall for each £1 spent to run the Mayoral Combined Authority for the next five years it will generate funding of at least £45 to be invested in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. All running costs can be paid for through government funding already set out in the deal and at no cost to our local councils.

“To further improve quality of life and grow our local economy, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is in need of more investment in housing and infrastructure. This deal will create new opportunities for our residents, help to attract new business and produce substantial economic growth.

“Our residents and businesses have shown their support through the consultation saying they want a greater number of decisions to be made locally and welcomed the new funding the deal would unlock.

“Now the final decision on whether to proceed with devolution rests with councillors."

If councils agree to proceed a Shadow Combined Authority would be established once agreed with the Secretary of State. A Combined Authority would be established next year with Mayoral elections set to take place in May 2017.

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