Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire county were listed as one of nine areas selected to progress with the Government’s new plan to ‘level up’ the country.
New plans would result in both the city and county upholding the Government’s new form of devolution, a system similar to that which is in place in areas such as Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands. Within this system, a directly elected political mayor would oversee the control, spending and planning of major projects. Though the use of a mayoral setup is not for certain, the Government states that it is available “for those areas that want one”.
These plans come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to “bridge the gaps across the country” during the 2019 General Election, and were unveiled by Michael Gove last week.
With living costs rising nationwide, many are wondering how these future changes will affect the community. Councilor Bradley stated that “this will give us a chance, with our local partners, to bring investment and improve services for our residents.”
Furthermore, Councilor David Melen, leader of Nottingham City Council, welcome the devolution news, stating “a devolution deal would address the underfunding of the region and result in extra powers and money from Government, enabling all local councils to work collectively together to make the most of the possible opportunities that a devolution deal would represent.”
“We have been developing plans [to become] one of the Government’s devolution pathfinders, which would see wide-ranging improvements focused on transport and infrastructure, skills, employment, and climate change.”
However, there has also been criticism of the new plans, with Councilor Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council and the Independent Alliance in county Hall, telling the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the white paper doesn’t “clearly” state what leveling up means, nor the details of a devolution deal.
“I’m not sure that residents will welcome extra pricey bureaucracy when the cost of living crisis is hitting them so hard.”
The next step will involve the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire economic prosperity committee deciding how the country will negotiate its deal, with the next meeting happening on March 8.
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