MPs and council leaders release letter backing elected mayor plan
A host of Suffolk and Norfolk leaders have insisted an elected mayor and combined authority 'will not necessarily' lead to an additional layer of government.
All of Suffolk's MPs and six out of the nine Norfolk MPs have signed a document claiming a proposal, which will give a newly elected mayor power over £750m of spending over 30 years, and £130m for housing, will put decision making and accountability into the hands of local people.
Labour MP for Norwich South Clive Lewis and Conservative North-West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham - who have both been publicly critical of the plans - were not approached to sign the letter. Norwich North MP Chloe Smith is currently on maternity leave.
All of the council leaders in the two counties - apart from leaders of the four Norfolk authorities which have already rejected the deal - have also given their support. Eastern region MEP Vicky Ford also supported the dossier, which says councils could work more closely and save time and money.
Councils will vote on whether to go ahead with the plans next month. Norfolk County Council's leader Cliff Jordan has already said he is not confident that his authority will back the move, amid concerns from some councillors, including the unwanted expense of a mayor.
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But the signatories of the letter released today said they were supporting the plan for government to hand more powers and funding to Norfolk and Suffolk as it would create a better connected and more prosperous future for the two counties.
They said a new mayor and combined authority would 'work democratically' with local leaders to generate a 'bottom up plan' and set of priorities reflecting the needs of local people, businesses and places across Norfolk and Suffolk.
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