Councils across Suffolk, Norfolk and neighbouring local authorities, have been in discussion with the Government about managing responsibilities to deliver important decisions them at a local level.
The key elements of proposed Norfolk/Suffolk deal are:
- £25m funding each year for the next 30 years (£750m) to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs (this will increase the local economy to £43bn and create 95,000 jobs by 2026)
- £130m investment over five years to support the building of new homes across Norfolk
and Suffolk (including £30m across Ipswich and Norwich). This will enable around 10,300 homes to be delivered
- over the lifetime of the deal around 200,000 homes could be delivered
- control of a £225m guaranteed transport budget for the next four years
- control of an existing c£20m annual adult skills fund to ensure the training offer matches
the needs of local businesses and the local labour market
- control of an existing c£2m annual Apprenticeship Grant for employers
- greater control over who (and how) delivers transport services in Norfolk and Suffolk,
ensuring that transport integrates better and there are more options for local residents
- more control and influence over investment in key roads across Norfolk and Suffolk, thus ensuring maintenance and improvements can be prioritised locally, rather than having to compete with other works across the country
- a commitment to providing superfast broadband and improved mobile phone reception
in more communities, particularly in rural areas
- that the relevant councils will work with the NHS to bring together health and social care services to provide a more joined up, single service for residents
- relevant authorities and partners take an Norfolk/Suffolk wide approach to flood and
coastal risk management to better protect people, property and land from flooding
According to John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, in an article for iQ magazine (June-August 2016):
“We live in an era of important D-words: deficit, debt and now devolution.
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is broadly supportive of the principles behind Government plans to give Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk more control over the business-critical issues of economic growth and infrastructure and skills development.
We think that would allow the private and public sectors and local communities to make better decisions and take speedier advantage of opportunities in the fast-moving national and international economic systems.
However, we are keen to ensure that the voice of business is heard loud and clear both during the current consultation stage and if – or when – the new devolved structures are in place. Any significant initiatives need to be evaluated against the expertise and needs of Suffolk’s wealth creators.
The business community must be at the heart of the devolved entity and not kept at arms’ length or used as an occasional think tank.
However the devolved authority is organised, it will be trust, relationships and knowledge-sharing between those organisations involved that will help devolution realise its potential. Organisations such as ourselves and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership can offer an immense range and depth of contacts at a local, regional and national level.
Devolution should be all about another D-word – delivery – and that is what business is all about”.