Norfolk faces a major opportunity to gain new powers and funding from the Government, through an agreement called the County Deal.
We could make more decisions in Norfolk, for Norfolk and secure investment of more than £600m over 30 years.
If councillors agree the in-principle deal, it will enable us to invest in areas such as transport, skills and job opportunities, housing and regeneration, tailored to the needs of local people.
A County Deal would mean:
- Having a Council Leader who is directly elected by the public, enabling Norfolk’s voice to be heard by the Government
- Targeting funding and resources to Norfolk’s own priorities
- Unlocking housing and employment sites
- Investing in the skills we need and attracting and retaining key businesses
- Opening the door to more – further powers and funding in future
Read more about what a County Deal would mean for Norfolk.
The story so far
- December 2022: then county council leader Councillor Andrew Proctor signed an in-principle County Deal devolution agreement with the Government. Known as a level three deal, it would include a £20m per year investment fund, plus a directly elected council leader.
- Early 2023: the county council consulted the public on the County Deal. It showed 64 per cent of respondents agreed with the proposal to have control of money from the Government. Fifty-seven per cent agreed with the principle of devolution and the benefits it brings to Norfolk. Just 31 per cent of people disagreed with an elected leader.
- May 2023: new county council leader Councillor Kay Mason Billig reopened negotiations with the Government. This was to see if the council could secure further benefits.
- December 2023: the cabinet and then full council will consider the deal and decide a way forward.
Update from county council leader, Councillor Kay Mason Billig
Devolution creates many potential benefits for Norfolk, which are outlined on this website.
The in-principle level three County Deal, agreed last year, gives Norfolk more control of adult education, brownfield site regeneration and transport.
The key benefit is a £20m per year investment fund. With match funding, this could generate £60m per year, to spend on local priorities.
Backing the deal would open the door to more powers and funding in future, as level three areas will be eligible for further devolution.
On 15 November the infrastructure and development select committee considered an update report. Go to the 15 November report.
Over the last few months, we have been negotiating with the Government to see if we can obtain further benefits. We have already secured £6m of capital investment for a range of schemes - the Nar Ouse business park, the Great Yarmouth operations and maintenance campus and affordable housing in Norwich.
On Friday 24 November we published a report that was considered by the County Council’s cabinet on Monday 4 December. Go to the 4 December report.
That meeting considered the following four options:
- Proceeding with the current, in principle deal, which would see voting for a directly elected leader in May 2024. This is a year ahead of the County Council elections.
- Proceeding with the current, in principle, deal but with voting taking place in May 2025. This would be alongside the County Council elections, after the Government agreed to allow this option to be considered.
- Going back to the Government and negotiating a level two deal. This would mean Norfolk wouldn’t receive the £20m per year investment fund and other funding, and powers over transport and brownfield sites. However, Norfolk would have adult education funding devolved to the county.
- Deciding not to proceed with a devolution deal.
Cabinet recommended option two – a level three deal, with an election in May 2025, subject to a resolution to adopt the new governance arrangements being brought to the full council on 23 July 2024. The full County Council will now discuss the cabinet’s recommendation option on Tuesday 12 December.
The cabinet report outlines:
- The key elements of the deal and additional elements
- The results of public consultation
- How we will involve key stakeholders across the public, private and voluntary sector
Go to 12 December report.