Pursuit of deal on Norfolk and Suffolk devolution is backed by county council
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
The pursuit of a deal for devolution, with a combined Norfolk and Suffolk authority taking on new powers, has been backed by county councillors.
Norfolk and Suffolk lodged expressions of interest for devolved powers on county lines, although the government said it would look more favourably on a Norfolk/Suffolk bid.
That has been the focus of subsequent meetings, with negotiations between council leaders, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the government. Another meeting of Norfolk and Suffolk leaders is set for next Wednesday.
Today, the approach so far was backed by the majority of the full council at a hastily convened meeting.
There has been criticism, including from this newspaper, that the brakes should be put on in the dash for devolution, but County Hall officers and councillors said they could not afford to procrastinate.
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Managing director Dr Wendy Thomson said it was crucial to be in the first round of any deals, as experience showed those who applied to government initiatives first benefited the most.
And council leader George Nobbs said: 'It's been made crystal clear to us that it's an opportunity for us to seize. The government has made clear it is now or never as far as getting a good deal.'
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Officers stressed the full council would get the final say on accepting any deal offered and said, contrary to a recent statement from the government to the EDP, that they believed an elected mayor was not a key requirement of any deal.
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