Combining forces to get a better business deal

A ground-breaking jobs and growth deal for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire is being sought by leaders of local authorities, including Amber Valley Borough Council, and the local business community.

Council leaders from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and business leaders from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) went to London on Tuesday 17 March to open discussions with Whitehall to begin to negotiate a ground-breaking devolution deal for powers that will give local people and local businesses more influence over the things that make our economy grow and local lives better.

The consortium of representatives from the two proposed Combined Authorities of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, together with prominent business figures from the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire area met with Greg Clark, Minister for Cities, to discuss how Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire can take control of some of the key economic levers - jobs, skills and transport.

The proposed Combined Authorities will be the first two-tier areas to get to this position and, if successful, it could be a model for the future for the rest of the UK. The D2N2 devolution deal is amongst one of the first in the UK to be negotiated, with a number of other areas also seeking more control over investing the money which is generated through the local area, but which currently goes to Whitehall to be divided up nationally.

While the D2N2 delegation is in London they will also be meeting with Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to discuss the devolution proposals for the area.

The discussions are only happening because all local Councils in the D2N2 area – districts, boroughs, cities and the counties – are working together for the greater good of the region with a strong unified vision for growth and jobs.

Businesses, who have also worked alongside the councils in developing the vision, want to see more money coming to the area for improved road and rail links, better joined-up transport systems, more affordable housing and faster and more widespread broadband connectivity.

If successful, this deal would deliver:

  • 55,000 new jobs by 2023
  • Improving the quality and quantity of homes across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire – delivering 77,000 affordable new homes by 2020
  • £1bn Regional Investment Bank to help businesses better access to funds through a D2N2 investment business bank
  • Better connected towns and cities through the creation of two combined transport authorities covering Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire
  • Improve frequencies, integration and joint ticketing arrangements on public transport through London-style powers, as well as directly influencing improvements to motorways and major trunk roads in the area
  • Better exploiting the potential of East Midlands Airport – the second busiest freight terminal in the country after Heathrow to increase international trade and passenger transport
  • In addition to the creation of 55,000 new jobs, more and better quality apprenticeships will be created. In doing this, more power will be available to tackle the root causes of long term unemployment, and to further reduce the rates of young people not in education or employment
  • Greater control over the further education offer to ensuring that all local learners and employers have access to the right, high-quality further education offer, matching the skills of citizens with those demanded by the employer.
  • Speeding up the planning process and making it more flexible to respond to the different needs of the local areas
  • A smart infrastructure that future-proofs growth and prosperity with universal access to 4G and beyond, removing the digital divide facing those in vulnerable and rural communities
  • A localised, smarter energy strategy that is more sustainable and greener. This will include looking at both how to reduce energy usage and improve the production of energy by working with the Universities to look at the latest technologies.


Leader of Amber Valley Borough Council, Cllr Paul Jones, said: “This shows how councils across the political spectrum are willing to work together for the greater good. We are the first two-tier authority areas to have got to this stage. The Government needs a better way to work with two tiers of local government and this could be that way.

“This is not about reorganisation of local councils, nor is it about us asking for additional funding. It is about making sure that the money that is raised locally, is used and invested in a way that best benefits local rather than national priorities, and gives the local area real growth with real jobs and real prosperity.”

 

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