Support Cambridgeshire recently attended the very first Town and Parish Council run by Huntingdonshire District Council. Top of the information agenda was the Devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (often referred to as Devolution deal 1).
On Thursday 4 May, power is being put into the hands of local people. Six regions, including Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, will hold elections to elect new Combined Authority Mayors.
The deal received the green light in November 2016 when seven councils across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough voted to approve the deal. The deal was also agreed by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP). This followed both a public consultation as well as an expression of overwhelming support from local businesses.
You can view the Shadow Combined Authority’s agenda publishing page on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.
The unanimous backing will unlock millions of pounds of new government funding alongside decision-making powers being transferred from Westminster.
This means a greater number of important decisions can be made locally rather than by central government.
The devolution deal includes significant benefits for the communities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including:
- A new £600 million fund (£20 million annually for the next 30 years) to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs. Examples of schemes that the Combined Authority could use this fund to invest in include:
- A Peterborough University with degree-awarding powers.
- Support for the continued growth and regeneration of Peterborough, including the city centre.
- Transport and infrastructure improvements such as the A14/A142 junction and upgrades to the A10 and the A47.
- A new £100 million housing fund to be invested over the next five years to build more homes in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including affordable, rent and shared ownership properties.
- A new £70 million fund to be used to build more council rented homes for Cambridge over the next five years.
- Deciding how a budget is spent to maintain and improve road networks.
- Deciding how funding is spent on apprenticeships and employment creation opportunities.
- Deciding how funding is spent on adult education and skills training for people aged 19 and over to help produce a workforce with skills that local employers need.
Councillors have also agreed for their council to become a constituent member of a Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which would include a councillor from each of the local councils and a representative from the GCGP LEP.
A Combined Authority is a partnership where councils join together to make collective decisions that affect a local area; In this instance that area is Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough proposal would mean forming a Combined Authority that would include the following organisations:
- Peterborough City Council
- Cambridgeshire County Council
- Fenland District Council
- Huntingdonshire District Council
- East Cambridgeshire District Council
- South Cambridgeshire District Council
- Cambridge City Council, and the
- Greater Cambridge and Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.
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. This was also supported in the public consultation carried out by Ipsos MORI and by businesses.
Now that all partners have agreed to the deal it is expected by the end of the year that:
- a final written letter of consent from partner organisations will be sent to the Secretary of State.
- a draft order will be laid before Parliament.
- once given approval by Central Government, the formation of a Shadow Combined Authority.
- Mayoral elections are set to take place in May 2017.
Further devolution deals could see the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority looking at more funding and powers that will directly improve the lives of our residents, create jobs and tackle deprivation (Devolution deal 2) which will include a specific proposal on Market Town Growth across the area.