Norfolk and Suffolk will both get mayors under new devolution deals, chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced.

But the leader of Norfolk County Council has said the chancellor's statement had been "incorrect" and a deal for Norfolk has yet to be concluded.

There is also chagrin at County Hall over Mr Hunt's statement that Norfolk would get a mayor, as discussions with Whitehall officers have focused on a directly-elected leader of the county council, rather than a mayor.

For months, Norfolk and Suffolk have been locked in talks with the government about what are known as county deals - which would see Whitehall devolve powers to local councils.

And Mr Hunt used the autumn statement to announce the deals, praising the way elected mayors in other parts of the country had driven growth.

He said: "To unlock growth right across the country, we need to make it easier for local leaders to make things happen without banging on a Whitehall door."

He said more "inspirational civic leadership" was needed and said: "So today I can announce a new devolution deal that will bring an elected mayor to Suffolk, and deals to bring mayors to Cornwall, Norfolk and an area in the north east to follow shortly."

But Mr Hunt has been accused of jumping the gun when it comes to announcing a Norfolk deal and of wrongly using the word mayor.

Eastern Daily Press: Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County CouncilAndrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Conservative-controlled county council leader, Andrew Proctor, said he welcomed the government's commitment to transfer significant funding and powers to counties.

But he said: "Although discussions on a Norfolk deal are well advanced, no final decision has been made, so the chancellor was incorrect in this regard."

Rather than a mayor heading up a combined authority - as is the case with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham - the county council's negotiations have focused on investing powers in a directly-elected county council leader.

Details of the deal have yet to be revealed, but it is understood a figure of a minimum of £20m a year for 30 years for an investment fund has been discussed.

The new mayor - or elected leader - could spend the money on projects like transport and adult learning.

The text of the deal has yet to be announced and Mr Proctor had always said, once it was, it would go to full council for consideration, after which there would be "formal public engagement".

He said it would then come back to the county council, which would have the "final say" in the move to an elected leader at the back end of next year before the first election in 2024.

Government documents published alongside the statement make clear that, while a deal with Suffolk has been agreed, "good progress is also being made towards signing a deal with Norfolk County Council".

County Hall is looking to make £60m cuts and savings and Mr Proctor had previously written to prime minister Rishi Sunak calling for fairer funding for local councils.

Mr Hunt appeared to confirm councils would be able to increase council tax beyond the current cap.

Mr Proctor said: "I fully appreciate the difficult financial situation facing the chancellor and his focus on restoring stability, to enable growth and strengthen public services.

“I welcome additional funding for adult social care over the next two years and I hope that is the beginning of sustained investment.

“I agree with the chancellor that a strong economy depends on strong public services - but I note that his proposals for spending growth won’t match economic growth."

Mr Proctor said: "We will study the details of how today’s statement impacts on our funding. But it is already clear that my council faces a dilemma.

“We need to balance our books but my administration does not want to add to people’s financial burden by raising council tax above acceptable levels. This means that my council faces extremely difficult decisions over the next few months."

Mr Hunt also announced he has asked former Labour health secretary Patricia Hewitt, the chair of the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System, to help ensure newly formed Integrated Care Boards "work properly with appropriate autonomy and accountability".

Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group at County Hall, said: "For the working millions struggling with bills, mortgages and rents the outlook is grim.

"Council tax increases still mean cuts in services. The so called increases in social care funding are loaded onto council tax bills and simply prolong the social care crisis without actually addressing it."

Alan Waters, leader of Labour-run Norwich City Council, said there was little to help his authority in the autumn statement and warned it was going to be a "tough time" for councils.