Yesterday Nottingham City council alongside Nottinghamshire County Council, Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council have agreed in principle to a £1.14 billion devolution deal with the government.
The deal will provide the region with a guaranteed income stream of £38 million per year over a 30-year period. Alongside this it includes an extra £16 million for new homes on brownfield land, and control over a range of budgets like the Adult Education Budget, which could be better determined nearer to the needs of people in our communities.
The East Midlands will now have an elected mayor responsible for the East Midlands area, this mayor will have devolved powers from central government, meaning more power for local people in making local decisions.
Currently we are in the early stages of this process, the decision to accept the deal in principle will need to be voted on in full council, and then we will be going out for public consultation. Following consultation there will be a second vote in full council. If the deal gets through full council and is approved by all other Local Authorities and parliament then the Mayoral elections will be held in May 2024.
Nottingham Labour are convinced that we can win the mayoral election in May 2024, we represent the people of Nottingham best, Labour in the East Midlands represent the people of the region the best, and we are proud of our achievements, and are certain we can make a strong and positive case for what Labour can achieve for the region with a Labour Mayor.
People may ask the question: why go for this deal, what does Nottingham and Chesterfield have in common? Surely this is just another layer of bureaucracy distracting the council from dealing with the issue’s residents care about?
There are many reasons that Nottingham Labour support this. Nottingham city is in the worst funded region in the country, compared to other regions we are getting less, and this is impacting the services we can give our residents. We are being left behind, Nottingham is the only core city that does not have a devolution deal, and this is leaving our residents behind. The deal offers 30 years of guaranteed funding for the region. This will help us plan for key projects and priorities moving forward in a much more sustainable way.
We will get yearly funding for our Adult Education Budget and will be able to influence skills delivery locally. This means we will be able to help our residents train and retrain in expanding and new areas of the economy such as green energy and sustainable roles. This will give our residents jobs that give them higher wages and better long-term prospects.
We will get access to money to unlock brownfield sites for housing and regeneration sites. This is critical for us as a city, we are struggling to access the land needed to build the homes that our residents want, need and deserve.
We will have a multi-year settlement for integrated transport, meaning that it will be easier for people to come into and go out of the city for work, as well as easier for people to get around the city and the region.
Finally the conservative government have signalled over the past decade that they want to see more devolved authorities and it gives access to more money to areas that are devolved, Nottingham and the East Midlands need and deserve a seat at the table, we can’t tell our residents that they are missing out on funding they should have had access to.
This doesn’t mean that the deal is perfect though- it’s been created by a Conservative Government and we’ve had to agree to it with three Conservative authorities, there’s areas it could be improved. The money on offer is not overwhelming amounts, we recognise and understand that, but Nottingham Labour feel that its key that we have a seat at the table to shape the deal. We are at the start of a journey, not at the end of it and through devolution more money and new avenues to get funding will be available. Fundamentally we couldn’t turn to the people of Nottingham and say that we turned down funding that could make real improvements for their lives, we couldn’t risk being left behind even further than we already have been by the government.