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Leader highlights Norfolk's potential to Government

25 July 2019

County Council leader Andrew Proctor has written to the new Prime Minister, outlining the area's potential and how the council can deliver, with the right support in place.

Here is the letter, in full:

Dear Prime Minister,

Congratulations on your appointment. I look forward to seeing your positive vision for a post-Brexit Britain – and to playing our full part in helping to deliver it.

I know that Brexit is the key item on your agenda but I also note you have attached great importance on the need for positivity and optimism on all fronts. I have the same view about the future of Norfolk and the county council’s role in growing the economy and improving people’s lives.

Norfolk has much to offer:

  • We are a net contributor to UK PLC – a positive player in the national economy
  • We are leaders in renewable energy and agri-tech, plus research at the University of East Anglia
  • We have room to develop more housing and employment, while protecting our beautiful countryside and coast
  • We have improving infrastructure links, with a 90-minute Norwich-London train service and 98 per cent coverage for superfast broadband
  • We are innovative and commercially minded, as shown by our contracting company, Norse and our house-building venture, Repton Homes

I’m also positive about the potential future role of councils and their ability to support your objectives. A huge amount of money has been taken out of local government since 2010 but we have done the heavy lifting and delivered high quality services. We are ideally placed to offer leadership and vision and to effectively work with a wide range of partners.

However, positivity can only go so far, if our very real pressures aren’t addressed.

I’m not extending a begging bowl. As an experienced businessman who is now a county council leader, I am asking for you to make a shrewd investment in the future of this country, which will give you a real, tangible return. This fits with the Local Government Association’s “Councils Can” campaign on how local authorities can deliver for the country.

We would like to see:

  • Fairer funding, on a long-term basis, will enable councils to plan effectively and have the headroom to innovate and bring more value to communities
  • Sustainable funding for adult social care will benefit our most vulnerable people and reduce demand for more costly care and NHS services. We know from our pioneering reablement service that every £1 invested saves £4 in adult social care costs
  • Infrastructure investment will unlock our potential as economic leaders – in Norfolk, dualling the A47 and building the Norwich western link will help us to form an eastern powerhouse
  • A new form of localism and devolution for county areas, which can empower councils to deliver for their areas, without the contentious issue of having to have an elected mayor

Once again, congratulations. I welcome any opportunity to shape your thinking on how local government in general and Norfolk County Council in particular can play a purposeful role in the future of this country. I would be happy to host a visit, so you can see all the good things we are doing and our ideas for the future.

Yours sincerely,
Cllr Andrew Proctor
Leader of the Council

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