15/11/2015 Leave a comment
Today the County Council Network gather in Guildford for our annual conference and no doubt there will be much debate on the latest Devolution meetings taking place with DCLG. For Norfolk and Suffolk the week before last, a group of council leaders from across both counties, including myself took our case for devolution to Government. This was our opportunity to pitch our ambitious proposals for Suffolk and Norfolk to the Government team, led by Lord Heseltine, alongside senior civil servants from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Over recent weeks and months, all sixteen councils across Norfolk and Suffolk have been working collaboratively to develop these exciting proposals, the main focus of which centre around ways in which we can boost investment in our infrastructure, productivity, housing, education and skills across our communities.
I want to see us continuing to build on both Norfolk and Suffolk’s already great economic strengths, growing our local economies and increasing skills levels, as well as increasing the number of well paid jobs.
The meeting was very productive and our ideas and suggestions were welcomed by Lord Heseltine, who took a keen interest in the proposals we presented. We set out the areas over which our collective councils and LEP hope to take more control and I am confident that we demonstrated that the bid we are planning to submit will fully support the ambitions which Suffolk and Norfolk share to enable the future growth and delivery of effective and efficient public services for all our residents.
I am very proud that we are held in high regard for our strong track record in collaborative working. It was certainly recognised that we have put in an incredible amount of effort and hard work already and I feel that this shows we are well placed to take things to the next level.
Of course, we still have a way to go and we have more work to do in refining our bid to align with Government’s asks. But it still remains that the agreement of any deal we submit will need political and democratic sign-off by all of our 16 councils and the New Anglia LEP.