Chancellor announces plans for county devolution

CCN News 2015 | 09 July 2015

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CCN welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to county devolution, but warn that benefits must reach all four corners of England.

CCN reaction to the news that member council Cornwall is edging closer to a ground-breaking ‘substantial’ devolution deal can be found in;

Public Finance here.

LGC here (£)

Our warning that funding reductions could undermine Government growth plans unless matched by ambitious devolution right across England can be found in the MJ here.

Our full statement on the Chancellor’s devolution proposals is below

Today, the County Councils Network (CCN) strongly welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of the first of many ‘devolution deals’ for rural county areas.

Following his long-standing commitments on creating a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the Chancellor announced that Cornwall was set to be the first rural area to receive billions of pounds of devolved Whitehall funding and powers.

For the first time, local councils in prominently rural areas could take control of the franchising of bus services, infrastructure and skills investment, and hundreds of millions of pounds of EU funding.

CCN have been leading calls for devolution to non-urban areas, which already account for 41% of England’s GVA and nearly 50% of its population. County deals are not only vital to the areas, they also set a precedent for bringing more decisions and services closer to county communities across all four corners of England.

Today’s announcement could see the potential of county economies maximised to help meet Government growth targets and plans to boost productivity.

However, CCN warned that continuing funding reductions to local councils threatens to undermined support to local economies unless matched by ambitious devolution right across England.

CCN stated that Government must now follow through on its commitments and deliver a County Devolution Settlement for all non-metropolitan areas in England.

CCN Director Simon Edwards said:

‘The County Councils Network has been working closely with our members to establish a clear and ambitious case for devolution in counties. Our recent County Devolution: Our Plan for Government report highlighted the scale of what could be achieved by local partnerships given the right powers and freedoms.’

‘Given the potential benefits of devolution to county areas we strongly welcome steps towards historic county deals. These could be ground-breaking, not only in enabling real service reform and sustainable growth in their localities, but in setting a precedent for the empowerment of county communities across the country.’