Council leaders are pledging to press ahead with a crunch vote on Norfolk's multi-million-pound devolution deal - despite the general election throwing its future into question.

Norfolk County Council is due to meet on July 23 to vote on whether to change its governance so the public can vote for a directly-elected leader - a key component of the £600m deal offered by the government.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council will vote on the devolution deal despite uncertainty triggered by the general electionNorfolk County Council will vote on the devolution deal despite uncertainty triggered by the general election (Image: Mike Page)

But, with prime minister Rishi Sunak calling a general election for July 4, it is not clear whether a new government - of whatever hue - would still offer the same devolution deal which Conservatives at County Hall have been keen to embrace.

Local government secretary Michael Gove, who has been involved in talks over that deal, has announced he is standing down, while it is not known whether an incoming Labour government will push ahead with such deals.

Eastern Daily Press: Local government secretary Michael GoveLocal government secretary Michael Gove

However, a county council spokesperson said: "We are in regular contact with the Department of Levelling Up and we remain confident our devolution deal will be able to proceed as planned, subject to the vote at full council in July."

But Brian Watkins, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, was not convinced the deal would end up going ahead.

He said: "There's lots of ifs and buts and maybes. You would think maybe there could be some degree of consensus that, even if there were a change of government, that Norfolk needs to proceed with the deal, but there's quite a bit of doubt and uncertainty about what will happen."

The idea of a 'county deal' - which would see a transfer of power from Whitehall to Norfolk County Council - was agreed in principle in December 2022.

The deal includes an investment fund of £20m a year for 30 years, control of the £12m budget for adult education, and £7m for brownfield development.

READ MORE: Norfolk devolution deal could see hundreds of homes built

While it does not come with a mayor, or the creation of a new tier of government known as a combined authority, as has happened with devolution in areas such as Manchester and Liverpool, it would see the public vote for a directly-elected leader of Norfolk County Council.

The first election of such a leader had been due to take place this month, but the council previously agreed to postpone it until May next year.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council leader Kay Mason BilligNorfolk County Council leader Kay Mason Billig (Image: Norfolk County Council)

County Hall leader Kay Mason Billig previously said the deal would give the county "a seat at the top table" and warned Norfolk could not afford to be "left in the wilderness".

However, the deal has been criticised, including by Lord Fuller, during his time as Conservative leader of South Norfolk Council.