A DEVOLUTION deal for the greater Devon region, which transfers new money and powers into the hands of local Leaders across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, has moved a step closer today, Friday, with the backing of the Government’s Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison.
This has been greeted by Devon County Council and a spokesperson said: ‘Outline approval has been given for a Devon-wide devolution deal which could bring greater local control and allow partners to tap into additional resources to help tackle key local priorities such as affordable housing, better public transport and connectivity, and providing for the skills that the local economy needs.
‘Importantly, the deal would not require a change to the established democratic structures across the area or the need for an elected mayor as in other devolution deals across the country.
‘Instead, the new powers would be devolved to a partnership of existing local councils who would deliver on a joint programme workingalongside a wide range of other local stakeholders.
‘Local partners across Devon have now been invited to work together to prepare a Final Business Case to present to Government for final approval later in the year.
‘Any final deal would require local consent with the full agreement of all the constituent councils as well as Parliamentary approval.’
Welcoming the opportunity and Government’s backing for a local deal without the need for an elected mayor, Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council and Chair of the local Devolution Partnership, said: ‘This could be an important first step towards getting more local control to deliver on the big issues affecting local people and help us get access to much needed new investment.
‘At its heart, it is all about building a better future for our children and young people, creating more opportunities for all, and backinglocal people and businesses to succeed.
‘We have a strong local partnership and a devolution deal would bring new local powers and fresh resources to help us work together to tackle the big local priorities such as affordable housing, better public transport and providing for the skills our economy needs.
‘We have been talking with the Government about this for some time and now it’s time to deliver.’
Cllr Phil Bialyk, Leader of Exeter City Council and Chair of the Devon Districts Forum, said: ‘We’ve been speaking to the Government about the need for a devolution deal which maintains the current structure of local councils while providing access to much-needed new funding for Devon.
‘This has been a real partnership approach, and it is great that the Government appears to understand that by working together locally with key stakeholders we can achieve great things for all of our residents throughout the county.’