Historic decision on East Midlands mayor just two days away

Mark Rogers

People across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are just days away from a decision that will determine how billions of pounds is invested in the regional economy.

Voters from across Derbyshire, Derby, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham will elect the first-ever East Midlands Mayor on Thursday 2 May.

The mayor will lead the new East Midlands Combined County Authority (EMCCA), which will have access to more than £4bn of new investment in the region for skills, transport, housing and regeneration and net zero – with further investment likely to follow.

The vote has been hailed as an “historic moment’ in the region’s future which can turn round decades of under-investment.

It also means decisions about key issues affecting the future of people, places and businesses across the East Midlands will now be taken here in the region rather than down in Westminster.

Mark Rogers, the interim chief executive of the EMCCA, said: “It’s absolutely vital that people across all of the East Midlands’ businesses and communities go to the polls on 2 May. This is their region, their mayor and their vote – and it’s going to have a major impact on their future.

“For people across Derbyshire, Derby, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham, this is a genuinely historic moment. For the first time, they will have regional control so that decisions about major issues can be taken in a way that suits regional needs rather than a one-size-fits-all national policy.

“By voting for a mayor, they will also have an elected figurehead who can speak up for the East Midlands nationally, and be at the top table to help secure a fair share of funding in the future.

“If you look across the region, you can see huge potential for progress all the way from communities to businesses. With a Mayor and a combined authority, we will be able to tailor the way we invest so that it makes the most of those opportunities.”

The £4bn investment has been made possible by a landmark devolution deal which means government has handed back some of its powers to an East Midlands mayor and combined county authority.

This means the East Midlands will now be on the same level as the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire, where elected mayors and combined authorities have secured substantial investment.

The EMCCA is a new organisation which will have only a small team supporting its work. It is being funded by government and will not take money away from existing council budgets.

While existing councils are set up to deliver specific local services in defined areas, EMCCA will focus on major strategic issues across the whole region. Decision-making will be led by the elected mayor, and will be based on four key priorities:

  • Skills and adult education – working with the region’s employers and skills providers to ensure people develop skills that enable them to access fulfilling careers.
  • Homes – working with local authorities, landowners, developers and housing providers to create affordable, good quality homes and retrofit existing homes to make them more environmentally sustainable.
  • Transport – working with local and national transport providers to improve infrastructure and services in a way that best serves the region’s needs.
  • Net zero – invest in new forms of clean energy and develop a clear path for the region to achieve net zero .

Rogers added: “This is a huge opportunity for people nd businesses all over the East Midlands to make the most of regional control and shape their destiny. Instead of these big decisions being made down in Whitehall, they’ll be made here by people who know the region, and understand its challenges and how to exploit its many opportunities.

“Voting for a Mayor on 2 May is only the start. With more than £4 billion of funding available, it means the mayor and EMCCA can kick-start progress, attract further investment from business and government, and drive improvement in issues that matter to everyone.

“This is all about making the most of new powers handed back to the region. The biggest power of all lies with voters, and I urge people to make their choice by voting in the East Midlands Mayoral election on 2 May.”

EMCCA has been made possible by a partnership between Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council.