Devolution is the redistribution of power and funding from central to local government. It means that more decisions are made locally, to improve things that matter to the people and business.
Local authorities, together with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, developed proposals that sought to secure more money and powers to provide better roads, railway connections, broadband coverage and other major infrastructure for Norfolk and Suffolk. The proposals also sought to secure more jobs and more opportunities for people to gain new skills. Any deal with Government would require the creation of a Combined Authority for Norfolk and Suffolk, led by an elected mayor. The Combined Authority would not replace existing councils, but would administer the specific powers negotiated for the two counties.
When the proposals were initially consulted on in June 2016, four of the Norfolk local authorities voted not to be included in the devolution area – Breckland District Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, North Norfolk District Council and Norwich City Council.
Following a public consultation over the summer, a summary of the feedback on the proposals was sent to the Secretary of State (Sajid Javid) in September 2016, which he used, along with other information, to determine whether creating a Norfolk and Suffolk Combined Authority (CA) met the statutory tests and improved the delivery of services/functions in the area.
As he concluded that it did, the remaining 12 Norfolk and Suffolk local authorities then scheduled council meetings to decide whether to consent to the Order being laid, that would see a Combined Authority being established.
In Norfolk, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council voted against the establishment of the Order on 17 November 2016. As a consequence of that decision, the Secretary of State wrote to all the participating Norfolk and Suffolk local authorities, withdrawing the deal.