People in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being asked for their views on the creation of a Combined Authority and directly elected mayor for the area as part of a new devolution deal.
Launched today, the public consultation will run until Tuesday, 23 August 2016.
Seven councils and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership have joined together to ask Government for some powers, responsibilities and funding to be transferred from Central Government to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
This means a greater number of decisions on public services would be made locally, rather than nationally.
In the past few weeks councils have voted to put a Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution deal out to public consultation. Councillors want to hear what the public thinks about putting powers and funding, normally decided by Government, into the hands of local people.
In the new deal local people could have control over a new £600 million fund (£20million annual fund) to improve transport and infrastructure as well as £170 million for housing.
The councils believe that a devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough would be an opportunity to boost jobs, transport and affordable homes across the county.
It is proposed to form a Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority chaired by a Directly Elected Mayor. The deal could bring about the following benefits for the area, including:
- A new £20million annual fund for the next 30 years (£600million) 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 in Cambridge over the next five years because house prices are so high in the city.
- Build on the case to develop 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 the A14/A142 junction and upgrades to the A10 and the A47 as well as Ely North junction. It would also support infrastructure development which will unlock the housing potential at Wyton and the development of a new Master Plan for 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 for Work and Pensions.
- Co-designing with Government a National Work and Health Programme focussed on those with a health condition or disability, as well as the long-term unemployed.
- Integrating local health and social care resources to provide better outcomes for residents.
- A 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 is to be the first in a series of proposals which devolve more funding and powers from Government to this area.
A Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority would include a councillor from each of the local councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership.
In order to receive the funding and to make decisions more locally, Government requires that there is an elected mayor. This means local people will be given the chance to directly elect their choice to become Mayor, to chair and lead the Combined Authority.
There would also be checks and balances with representatives of the partner organisations making sure any decisions are made democratically. No powers will be taken away from councils without their consent.
The deal has been negotiated with Government by:
- Cambridgeshire County Council
- Peterborough City Council
- Cambridge City Council
- South Cambridgeshire District Council
- Fenland District Council
- Huntingdonshire District Council
- East Cambridgeshire District Council
- The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
Residents are now being asked for their views on the devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Find out how to have your say on the devolution - a deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough page.
The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership will be consulting with businesses. Councils will also be carrying out a telephone survey over the course of the consultation to make sure our feedback is representative of residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Once the public consultation concludes, responses will be reviewed and each council will then have to formally agree the deal later this year. This means the Government could give final approval to a deal before the end of the year.
Councillor John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said:
"All councils in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, as well as our local enterprise partnership, have agreed to put our devolution proposal out to public consultation.
"Now it’s over to residents and businesses to tell us what they think.
"I believe this is one of the best devolution deals in the country with a new £170 million funding pot to build new homes in what is one of the fastest growing areas of the UK.
"On top of that we would receive £20million every year to fund key infrastructure projects in order to support our ambitions to accelerate economic growth across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
“Devolution means that local areas would take on responsibilities from Government, not duplicate them. Therefore a greater number of decisions impacting on Cambridgeshire and Peterborough would be taken locally by those that better know the strengths and challenges of our communities.
“I would encourage people to give their views in the consultation so councils and the Secretary of State can take an informed view later in the year.”