East Midlands devolution could be a reality ‘from spring 2024’ as authorities formally approve proposals

Long-mooted devolution plans which would see a new kind of regional authority created in the East Midlands are closer to becoming a reality after all four stakeholding councils voted to move forward with the project.

The plans – worth around £1.14bn – are set to progress after Nottinghamshire become the fourth local authority to signal its assent on Thursday (30 March).

Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council and Nottingham City Council all voted in favour of the plans earlier this month.

The councils signed up to work on a devolution deal on 30 August last year at Rolls-Royce in Derby. The agreement could provide a guaranteed income stream of £38m per year over a 30-year period.

A public consultation on the proposals received thousands of responses from residents, businesses, community and voluntary groups – the majority of which were positive.

New powers and funding could be in place as soon as next year after the four councils formally backed the plans.

For that to happen, new legislation is needed to pave the way for a new Combined County Authority. Formal devolution proposals would then be sent to Government for approval and Royal Assent, meaning that devolution in the East Midlands could become a reality from spring 2024.

The combined region’s first ever mayoral election could ostensibly take place in May next year.

In January, Ben Bradley MP, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, described the plans as “an opportunity to create jobs, boost our economy, enhance transport, build more and better homes, improve our environment, and more.”

Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, added the devolution deal would give the region “influence, funding, and powers that we deserve.”

Nottingham City Council leader, Councillor David Mellen, said the deal “has the potential to make a significant difference and local people would see the real benefits from the investment with more and better jobs, housing, training and much more.”

“It would allow us to start to address the long-term under-investment in our region”, he added.

Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council, said the plans would bring “more and better jobs and opportunities for training, improve the local economy, result in better transport and housing, and accelerate our route to Net Zero.”

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