Sajid Javid breaks his silence: Plug officially pulled on Norfolk and Suffolk devolution

Sajid Javid, communities secretary breaks his silence. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Sajid Javid, communities secretary breaks his silence. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has said local people will not benefit from the £750m of infrastructure funding and £130m for funding for new homes which would come with an elected mayor for Norfolk and Suffolk after West Norfolk council voted against the plan last week.

Mr Javid yesterday broke his five day silence on the future of Norfolk and Suffolk devolution with a statement making it clear the current offer will not proceed.

Officials confirmed legislation to create a combined authority, which was due to be laid later this month, will not now go to the House of Commons.

Suffolk leaders and a number of pro-devolution chiefs in Norfolk hope to salvage a new agreement with a 'coalition of the willing' and are in talks with officials about future opportunities.

Mr Javid said it was 'disappointing' that West Norfolk council, which voted last Thursday to pull out of the plan which would have seen an elected mayor created for Norfolk and Suffolk - but not for Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Breckland and North Norfolk - decided not to proceed.

He added: 'This government remains 100% committed to devolution but we respect this local decision.'

The deal included a promise of £25m per year for 30 years for infrastructure, a £130m housing package, a transport budget and devolved skills funding.

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Mr Javid said: 'Local people in Norfolk and Suffolk will no longer benefit from £750m of new funding to improve infrastructure, £130m for new homes, and extra powers over transport and skills.'

A spokesman for Suffolk Chamber of Commerce expressed disappointment at the outcome and said the organisation was ready to work with others on the possible development of a deal for Suffolk alone.

Peter Funnell, immediate past president of Suffolk Chamber, said: 'Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is disappointed that the devolution offer has been withdrawn by the Secretary of State. The chamber is in favour in principle of devolution of powers and decision-making from Whitehall to the regions.

'We were in favour of the Norfolk/Suffolk deal because it would have resulted in £750m of new funding to improve our infrastructure, £130m for new homes, and extra powers over transport and skills. And it had the potential to be the start of other, further devolved powers being awarded.'

But he added: 'We are ready to work with Suffolk County Council, other public sector partners, New Anglia LEP and the wider business community to explore the opportunities for a Suffolk-only deal.'

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