Chancellor hails devolution deal for East Anglia worth ‘almost £1bn’
PUBLISHED: 13:44 16 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:56 16 March 2016
Leaders have hailed the government’s “once in a generation” devolution deal for Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
They say it will pave the way for spending decisions to be taken in the region - and one elected mayor for Nofolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Chancellor George Osborne today announced that he had struck a deal worth “almost £1bn” in return for an elected mayor with 22 out of 23 Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire councils, and an extra £70m towards a third crossing in Lowestoft and money for a crossing in Ipswich.
It is not yet clear exactly which infrastructure projects will be delivered as part of the deal.
The chancellor said: “We have agreed a single powerful East Anglia Combined Authority headed up by an elected mayor and almost a billion pounds of new investment.”
He added: “The devolution revolution is taking hold.”
Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs said: “The extra money for infrastructure spending is very welcome. Probably of more importance is the decisions on how it is spend and where it is spent are taken here in East Anglia and not in Westminster. That is what devolution is all about.”
He said the extra money was “on top of anything that we are getting now”.
“It doesn’t come out of city deal or anything like that. It is very much extra money which is available to those in the first tranche of devolution.”
“The financial benefits are considerable when taken together. What makes them doubly attractive is the fact that decisions are taken by us.”
South Norfolk council leader John Fuller said: “The three counties and Peterborough have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a dramatic step change in their leadership in IT, clean energy, health, genetics and the environment to really transform our economy for the better. The mayor will have a pivotal role in raising finance from government and other sources which can be spent locally on housing and transport infrastructure so that economic growth is matched to the things the maintain quality of life.
“It is at least a billion pounds more than we would ever have been able to get before and the government making good on its promise that local people get a greater say in local destinies.”