Devon councils to work together for more devolved powers

Cllr John Hart

Posted on: 24 August 2015

Council leaders in Devon have agreed to work together on an expression of interest for more devolved powers from Westminster.

It follows a summit of county, unitary and district council chiefs in Exeter  organised by county council leader John Hart, Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans and Exeter City Council deputy leader Rachel Sutton.

They hope to make a joint expression of interest with Somerset County Council and its five district authorities based around economic development, skills and job creation.

It would be based on the boundaries of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership between businesses and Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay councils.

LEP chief executive Chris Garcia was at the meeting at Sandy Park with leaders from Devon’s eight district councils and Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver.

The meeting follows an earlier summit in Somerset this month with local authorities from all over the South West.

Cornwall has already agreed a devolution deal with the Government and councils around Bristol are already working on their own bid.

Devon County Council leader John Hart said:

“It’s important that we present a united front to the Government and the level of agreement has been very encouraging.

“I have always said that we can do things more effectively and more efficiently locally than being told what to do by London.

“The big themes we hope to focus on are on skills, economic growth and improving productivity,” said Mr Hart, “as well as infrastructure so we can ensure our road and rail network is more resilient than it has been in the past.

“Doing the very best for our older residents by coordinating health and social care and affordable homes for our young people are also key themes.

“It is interesting to note that the Chancellor, George Osborne, recognised the very real problems there are in the South West with housing for our young people – especially in rural areas – when he was in Devon on Thursday.”

Posted in: Politics