A new devolution deal proposed by councils across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), was discussed at Huntingdonshire District Council’s Special Council meeting on 29 June.
Members at the meeting held lengthy debates throughout the evening. They finally came to an agreement that they would support the principle of going out to consultation with residents on the proposals, which would see powers and finance devolved from central government to an elected Mayor and Combined Authority across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to allow decisions to be made locally. The deal would result in £600 million being made available for infrastructure over 30 years and £100 million for the delivery of housing over a five-year period.
Other key elements of the proposed deal are:
- control of a £91 million guaranteed transport budget for the next four years
- control of an existing approximate £20 million annual adult skills fund to ensure the training offer match the needs of local businesses and the local labour market
- control of an existing approximate £2 million annual apprenticeship grant for employers
- greater control over who (and how) delivers transport services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, 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, 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.
Executive Leader, Cllr Robin Howe, said: "This was a lengthy process and there was much reflection. Not all members were in total agreement with the proposals, but the decision was made to allow residents to have their say and give their views on the possibility of putting control of power and funding into the hands of local people, rather than central government."
A consultation will now take place over a period of seven weeks, the week commencing Monday 4 July 2016.