Search

Leaked documents reveal devolution deal for East Anglia - including new taxes and Oyster cards

08:44 27 February 2016

Powers will be devolved to Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire with one elected mayor for all three counties.

Powers will be devolved to Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire with one elected mayor for all three counties.

Archant

Oyster card-style tickets and an over-arching Transport for the East responsible for funding our rail and roads are among plans being considered as part of the East Anglian devolution deal.

The details have emerged in a leaked draft for the Eastern Powerhouse, which also demands new tax-raising and house building powers and calls for more property levies to be raised and kept locally.

The small print emerged as leaders yesterday met Treasury minister Lord O’Neill in Westminster to discuss the three-county devolution deal.

The first draft – published on February 18 – comes after months of meetings and talks which has culminated in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgshire councils and business leaders working together.

The eight-page dossier also raises the prospect of giving local authority leaders the powers to impose a new tourism or room levy, which is not currently legal in the UK; a demand to keep half of the stamp duty raised locally; and powers to fine developers with planning permission who do not start building.

Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs.Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs.

It comes with a demand for an extra £1bn for the region over the next two years to deliver what they claim would be the first deal which includes both county and unitary councils.

Leaders say they were told yesterday that the Treasury was “excited” by the proposals put together by the cohort of councils, which include the district and county councils of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, along with the Peterborough unitary authority.

George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “It was a very encouraging meeting. We will have further meetings early next week.”

While West Norfolk council leader Nick Daubney, who is negotiating on behalf of leaders in Norfolk, said they had made the case for the area, comparing it to other areas which are also looking for new powers through devolution.

He said that details had not been discussed, but there had been a general agreement that they should go forward with the plans.

Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble said he believed that an agreement to bring devolution to East Anglia could be signed by the end of next week following the Treasury talks.

He said there would be intense discussions about the elements to be included during the early part of next week – and the result could be the establishment of a combined authority with responsibility for a number of functions including transport and health.

He said one of the main priorities would be working with Highways England to improve the A14 across Suffolk, but other roads, such as the A12 and A140, also needed attention.

There is already a route strategy being worked up for the A140 in Suffolk and there are improvements needed to the Norfolk end of the road as well, particularly a bypass for Long Stratton.

The county council has already committed resources to building a case for a four villages by-pass on the A12 between Wickham Market and Saxmundham.

On health, Mr Noble said there was a need for a combined authority to take a role in co-ordinating health care, but he did not necessarily see it taking on responsibility for running hospitals or direct healthcare.

But if there is an agreement next week, Mr Noble said this would just be the start of the devolution process.

“Look at what has happened in Manchester. They signed their agreement months ago and they are still talking about how it will work and what services it will be responsible for. If we do get something signed over the next week, it will only be the start of a long journey.

The draft proposal document asks the government to create a 30-year multi-billion pound “Investment Fund for the East”, which it says will unlock investment and deliver economic growth.

Major new housing settlements on the Norfolk and Cambridgeshire border and in Mildenhall on the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk border are also mentioned in the deal.

On the draft, Mr Daubney said: “What we are saying is if the East of England is to reach its full potential, this is the sort of investment we need.”

What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk

Comment – Page 42

31 comments

  • @andy - I wasn't offended in the slightest. I was merely commenting that dragging up someone into a comments section is pretty much the definition of a troll. Incidentally, when they take offence in Sicilia they tend do do it rather well. Alas, we've been back for a good few months now. For a very lovely reason though so very happy to be back.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap3

    Wednesday, March 2, 2016

  • Devolution of powers etc is a means of shifting future blame. central govt will not provide enough money (and so state they have cut spending) and shift the burden locally.. locally taxes will inevitably rise, the enticement of more power is too much for local councillors to resist. they'll do anything to seemingly get more power. (real or imaginary) and where 'regions or devolved areas then face shortfalls the politics will kick in with 'special payments' to guard politically sensitivities just like now where the govt is putting £300m into mainly Tory areas hit hard by cuts.. (all the warnings and evidence is there)

    Report this comment

    Ivor

    Tuesday, March 1, 2016

  • Devolution of powers etc is a means of shifting future blame. central govt will not provide enough money (and so state they have cut spending) and shift the burden locally.. locally taxes will inevitably rise, the enticement of more power is too much for local councillors to resist. they'll do anything to seemingly get more power. (real or imaginary) and where 'regions or devolved areas then face shortfalls the politics will kick in with 'special payments' to guard politically sensitivities just like now where the govt is putting £300m into mainly Tory areas hit hard by cuts.. (all the warnings and evidence is there)

    Report this comment

    Ivor

    Tuesday, March 1, 2016

  • Devolution of powers etc is a means of shifting future blame. central govt will not provide enough money (and so state they have cut spending) and shift the burden locally.. locally taxes will inevitably rise, the enticement of more power is too much for local councillors to resist. they'll do anything to seemingly get more power. (real or imaginary) and where 'regions or devolved areas then face shortfalls the politics will kick in with 'special payments' to guard politically sensitivities just like now where the govt is putting £300m into mainly Tory areas hit hard by cuts.. (all the warnings and evidence is there)

    Report this comment

    Ivor

    Tuesday, March 1, 2016

  • Actually, on reflection Rob, to take up a point made by ingo, I had forgotten about Cambridge and their guided bus system. Ingo hit that nail very firmly and squarely on the head.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, February 29, 2016

  • Rob, I have no idea how well CCC are managed and little about SCC although they did not exactly cover themselves in glory with the £200k plus salary for a chief executive some time back. I do feel able to comment on NCC, who will make up a third of any new arrangement and stick with my views. Quite happy that I am up to speed, thank you. R, I observed that Arfur used similar phrases, etc. to you and asked a question. Perhaps I should have left an extra space in my post or made it clear that I was not associating his view with you opinions? You do love to take offence, even when none was intended. Is that how it is in Sicily? Or as you would say, oh dear!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, February 29, 2016

  • andy, once again you are not up to speed - this is NOT about the NCC it is about the NCC coupled with the SCC & CCC. It will be impossible to get the gerrymandering hands of No.s 10 & 11 out of this so our councilors should be wary of signing anything with this mob.

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Monday, February 29, 2016

  • @andy - making reference to someone who isn't taking part in a discussion?.. that'll make you a troll then. And so your facade of 'let's just stick to the facts and not get personal' crumbles. Oh dear.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap3

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Usually when such blue kites are flown, these ideas are put out to consultation, amongst us all, in three counties, not just flown above our heads and the landed. Where was the 'what do you think' poll on this issue? that's is what the EDP does for the campaigns of local MP's, they do little polls amongst their largely Conservative readership, but not with this idea by a split party, what's up doc? Those who prevented an East west railway line by wasting money on a guided bus system, forever paying out, are as incompetent as those who paid out for a criminally old fashioned waste burner in Norfolk. Do you want to trust these unaccountable cllrs. with tax raising powers and more money to waste? Mind, you will not get the choice to vote on it, because apprentice Osborne needs some success amongst the gloom and doom of his message this spring, already leaked weeks in advance to soften the impact, he needs something positive, and we have been dictated to be that 'good news'. Poll that.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Meanwhile back to the article, I still don't believe a case had been made for so called devolution, or, to give its proper name, a power and tax grab. I have yet to see anything that convinces me that NCC are fully capable of managing what they have let alone adding anything more. The article says it has the support of business leaders. WHO? Name names! Government bodies of all kind are notoriously wastful of tax payers money. We need less government, not more!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Arfur, i suspect you are in the minority - i don't think even Corbyn is as extreme as your view, or at least not prepared to admit it for obvious reasons. What is Rivers of Blood?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Andy, I admit my limitations but I also tried to explain to you what I felt I would find fair. But you dont seem to want to discuss that part of my answer doyou? I wonder why? As for me being related to Rushallchap I think you will find that there are a lot of people who hold the same general views as we do. And I would much rather be compared to him than your alter ego Rivers of Blood.

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Sorry to accuse you of having a rant Arfur, if that is not what you were doing. You who said we needed to increase taxes and I merely asked you for more detail of what you thought should happen. If you feel that is not a sensible question...... and it was you who said you were not bright enough to give a specific answer to your proposal. You are not related to Rushallchap by any chance are you?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Andy, I still can't see any rant. I was attempting to answer a specific question that you asked. I am sorry if you cannot actually engage in a sensible discussion.

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Arfur, the only person having a rant, as you put it, is you! I merely asked you questions which you have answered albeit you appear to have conflate some quite different points. Personally I don't see a case has been made for devolution as we need less government that concentrates on the provision of basic services and cut out the empire building with consequent vanity projects and empire building. As for taxes, why did you say you wanted more but then say you are not enough to know the answer? As you say you are not bright enough!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Andy, who is having a rant? I am not bright enough to give specific answers to your questions but I would be happy with a basic rate of approx 30%, with graduated increases as income rises. Perhaps 75% on all income over half a million per year? Despite EU rules I would reduce VAT to a minimum or even abolish it as it punishes the poor. Elsewhere in this eebsite is a report about the probable closure of more public toilets. It is this type of cutback that is destroying our society, removing people's sense of community. We need a well funded NHS, we need road sweepers, we need to overcome this sense of personal entitlement and greed that has been encouraged ever since Thatcher's day.

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

  • Arfur, how much fo you think taxes should increase for the average individual in the street? Should tax allowances be lowered? How high should the basic rate of tax be 25% - or more? How high should VAT be increased to? Or this is just another rant at the highly paid, such as footballers or celebrities?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • K Day, I think we can all guess that these "out of touch well off retired" will at least know how to use the English language properly.

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • Andy, oh dear, far from being taxed too much this country isnt taxed enough! That is why it is falling to pieces.

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • whilste there may be some good points to this proposed deal. all i can really see is more excuses for out of touch retired well off to clam lunch & travel expenses for sitting in yet more meetings to descuse what has already been descused at county level thus costing even more to those that are just trying to live a basic life and make ends meet. far to many of our political big wits have totaly lost sight of money and how little we all to be happy

    Report this comment

    k day

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • If this so called devolution is goingbto be worthwhile, surely it is meant to save money and for everything to work better? Otherwise it is just a blatent empire building tax grab. This country is already taxed enough and I defy anyone to reasonably claim that Norfolk is good with money. Are Suffolk and Cambridge any better? I remember it was not so long ago that Suffolk appointed chief executive on over £220,000 a year. How well are Norfolk's adult and childrens services doing? Definite no from me until they can show some justification that they are capable of betterbthan they are doing now!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • you would have thought that devolution has something to do with democratic consent, consultation on ideas, and a final fair and proportional vote on the matter. This is an imposition one would expect from dictators. What a bunch of useless muppet's, think they need their strings replacing, urgently. Any tax raising powers should come with a referendum, carte blanche will only result in the usual spendthrift we so well know from our so called representatives. No wonder the treasury is 'excited' about the ideas. Its the splitters flagship proposal for a wobbly devolution argument, because half of the better together campaign split the Tory's over the EU referendum,all in a sudden they can't be bothered about the Union anymore, they are turning on each other. This should not be accepted as a forgone conclusion, its wrong!

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • You want a Boris???? You want a man dedicated to creating money for his friends by trampling all over the honest hard working people of this country? This thread is getting stranger by the minute!

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • Dear Archie, I do hope we get our own 'Boris' - although I doubt very much that the one we get will be a quarter of the value of London's own. Looking at the likely candidates as proposed elsewhere, we look more likely to get a mare from Redwings , (other sanctuaries are available.)

    Report this comment

    AssaRummunInnit?

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • Wow, Mr Grouchy, you are really weird.

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • Dear Arfur, I don't know what grounds you have for saying that there would be a referendum on this devolved regional government proposal so my comments may not be as 'pointless' as you think.

    Report this comment

    Mr. Grouchy

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • Forty years ago our government undemocratically forced us into a political union. Without direct consent, without referendum, almost a millennium right of self-government was taken. Today our people endure a system where a largely unaccountable body - with virtually no representative leadership for us - implements every major aspect of governance upon us. We no longer have influence or control over political decisions affecting our lives. This distant, aloof government will never willingly change nor willingly give back any powers back to us. I therefore believe we are better off out. Yes, Ipswich should look to leave Suffolk County Council. Ipswich entered this political union in 1974 as a powerful county-borough, a major partner in a three-way stake holding with West Suffolk and East Suffolk. Suffolk’s greatest town has been disastrously diminished, from 100% control over all major county functions of local government; to long, hopeless periods when it has none at all. Devolution, based upon this already discriminatory structure, will magnify and cement the disparity and injustice for Ipswich for the next 40 years too. This must be fairly addressed ahead of any Devolution deal, with powers equitably shared with Suffolk’s County Town, its great urban and vitally important economic centre. Ipswich people, business and community leaders: YOU must make your views known and crystal clear to Cllr Noble, Ben Gummer, David Ellesmere, Mark Pendlington (LEP) et al; a Devolution for Suffolk, Norfolk & Cambridge must only happen with a balance of power and representation between the three counties; between the three rural counties and the four major urban centres of Greater Ipswich, Greater Norwich, Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough; and between those major urban centres themselves.

    Report this comment

    Mark Ling

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • All this Magic Mayor needs then is a magic wand! Money trees, make problems disappear and everyone do as they are told. Yeah!

    Report this comment

    smurf

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • These are merely a dipping the toe in, testing the water, proposals. Done properly this could actually cut some bureaucracy, various large county departments coming under one roof. Some decisions would be made on a more coordinated basis which is more difficult under the present situation. The biggest fear is an extra tier of government. Frankly, there would be no more need for county councils. Possibly the present district councils could be halved in number and take on the more local matters that would not be relevant to the larger authority. Done properly it should work as long as the usual haste to empire build little departments within is curbed. It all depends on the will to make it succeed as a better way of doing things. Ultimately we need to adopt reserved optimism about change, otherwise we'd still be living in caves.

    Report this comment

    Green Ink from Tunbridge Wells

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • Mr Grouchy, I do believe there would be a referendum so your comments are pointless. On a personal note I would be against these chancers getting their hands on our hospitals. I also oppose any further 'improvements' to our roads. Money would be much better spent on the rail infrastructure. Talking of which, hasnt the government moved the HQ if the 'Northern Piwerhouse' to London? Just shows what the real agenda is!

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

  • This will only lead to more bureaucracy, more wasteful spending of public money and less accountability to tax payers. Whatever happened to localism? The people of the eastern counties need a vote on this proposal as it changes the basis of local government.

    Report this comment

    Mr. Grouchy

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Most Read

Featured Pages

Most Commented

Latest from the EDP

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 11°C

Listen to the latest weather forecast
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the EDP
digital edition

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up