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First step taken towards East Midlands devolution

Posted on 2 May 2018

The leaders of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire county councils have agreed to explore a strategic alliance to create a unified voice for the region.

This would be a first step in an ambitious journey towards a devolution deal that would help boost the East Midlands’ economy.

In a joint statement, the County Council Leaders of Derbyshire (Councillor Barry Lewis), Leicestershire (Councillor Nick Rushton), Lincolnshire (Councillor Martin Hill) and Nottinghamshire (Councillor Kay Cutts) said: “We believe that we can achieve much more if we work together, particularly in the areas of connectivity, trade, investment and growth. A recent East Midlands Councils report showed that people in our area get the lowest Government spending on economic development and transport in the country, with rail expenditure in the region at just £91 per person, compared to £746 per person in London. This will remain the case unless we join forces and make our voice heard.

“We want to work together to grow our economy so that we build on our strengths and tackle our challenges. We would work with our LEPs and Chambers, and would be complementary to the Midlands Engine.

“The next stage in the plans will be to have further detailed talks to see how we can take the Strategic Alliance forward with a view to eventually being able to draw down powers and funding from Government.”

The strategic alliance, which would include the four counties and the cities of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, the Local Enterprise Partnerships and Chambers of Commerce, would focus on transport, infrastructure, jobs and strategic planning. This would ensure the East Midlands comes together to support the wider aims of the Midlands Engine and the Industrial Strategy as the country moves towards Brexit.

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: "The Chamber gives its backing to all efforts to give the East Midlands a louder, more unified voice when it comes to attracting Government investment into the region at the levels that our growth demands.

"Working with other business organisations and East Midlands Councils, we organised the East Midlands Infrastructure Summit last November, at which our MPs, local authorities and businesses signed a declaration calling for the region to receive 100% of the average of the national funding in infrastructure by 2020 – up from 60% where it currently stands.

"A Strategic Alliance would be an important step intowards giving the region the critical mass needed to attract Government’s attention. An Alliance must serve the whole of the East Midlands, be inclusive of all regional voices and offer leadership on transformational issues at a time of great social and economic change.

"It is clear that ‘more of the same’ will no longer be good enough as our businesses look to build on the growth they’ve achieved in recent years. We look forward to continuing our work with all partners as we strive to make sure those businesses – and the wider East Midlands – get the backing from Government they deserve."

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