The "size of the prize" of devolution for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire has been set out publicly in detail for the first time, as the region's draft deal is published today (Tuesday 5 January 2016).
The deal document, which sets out the final negotiating position of the councils and business leaders behind the bid, was sent to chancellor George Osborne and secretary of state for communities and local government, Greg Clark just before Christmas.
It was accompanied by a strong message to ministers that "now is the time to do the deal".
The agreement, as it stands, has been developed following months of negotiations. The majority of the deal has broad agreement, with only a small number of issues now requiring final discussion and sign off.
The deal sets out ten key benefits devolution would deliver for the residents and businesses of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire:
- 55,000 new private sector jobs
- 77,000 extra homes
- an Investment Fund over 30 years to provide infrastructure such as roads and bridges
- adult skills provision that better meets the needs of businesses
- a joint transport fund to spend on key transport improvements
- a better co-ordinated public transport system with "Oyster"-style smart ticketing
- more responsive and co-ordinated business support for growth
- the creation of substantially more apprenticeship opportunities
- more people entering employment through better targeted local programmes
- journey times to London of less than 90 minutes by train
Nineteen councils across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire together with business leaders from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers the two counties, are seeking to create a single Combined Authority for the region by March 2016 – the first of its kind featuring district, borough, city and county councils.
The Combined Authority and a new mayor, elected by the people of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, would be granted powers and resources currently held in London and gain responsibility for delivering a raft of new measures to boost economic growth, create jobs, build new homes and improve the quality of life for people living in the area.
Councillor Anne Western, leader of Derbyshire County Council, said: "We can't stress enough the size of the prize on offer for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and the benefits devolution would bring for local people. So we've taken the decision to publish the draft agreement so people can get a better understanding of what it will mean for the area.
"Following a request from government, we have renamed our bid as North Midlands, which more accurately reflects the geographical area covered and will be able to align with the same name for the Combined Authority.
"We've been working with the government to finalise a deal for some time now and discussions have been extremely positive. Both sides are clearly committed to an agreement and there's no reason to delay any further."
Councillor Alan Rhodes, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, added: "We have excellent proposals on the table, the majority of which have already been agreed, which offer a once in a generation opportunity to secure the jobs, growth, new homes and better quality of life we all crave for our communities.
"The benefits to the local economy and local people are clear – we just await the green light from the Chancellor."