Majority of businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk support devolution for East Anglia

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, at the announcement of the 'growth deal' for region wi

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, at the announcement of the 'growth deal' for region with an extra £50m of cash to boost business.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Almost 60pc of big businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk have backed the principle of devolving decisions from central government to local areas.

But of the 78 people who answered the question in the survey drawn up by Grant Thornton, 14pc said they did not think it was a good idea, while 27pc said they were unsure.

The survey was issued to at least 200 businesses in August, including the 100 largest, privately- owned businesses which are owned and managed in each county, while the Suffolk and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce also issued the survey to members.

Questioned about where powers should be devolved, 42pc said it should follow the New Anglia local enterprise partnership area of Norfolk and Suffolk, while 16pc said it should mirror the wider East Anglia area to including Essex and/or Cambridgeshire.

Of the 67 people who answered a question about whether the area would benefit from an elected mayor, 52pc of those surveyed said there would be no benefit.

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Toby Wilson, a director at Grant Thornton's Norwich office, said: 'Devolution remains a political priority and in both Norfolk and Suffolk, the survey findings suggest substantial business support for the idea.'

But he said it was up to the local authorities and related partners to continue to show they were prepared to make tough decisions regarding scarce resources.

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Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, added: 'Our businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk are at the heart of these ambitions, but we know they want more clarity and certainty over key areas such as long-term funding for infrastructure, skills and business funding and support.'

What should a devolution revolution in this region look like? Email

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