Councils signal their intent to explore devolution options

Posted on: 9 September 2015

North Devon and Torridge District Councils, along with 18 other South West partners, last week outlined their resolution to seek further talks with Central Government related to the devolution of powers and funding from Westminster. If progressed this would see greater local powers for the region around the themes of Economic growth, Health, social care and wellbeing, and Infrastructure.

The new government agenda, aims to shift more power decision making down to a local level and away from Westminster. For the region to benefit from this, Councils need to be able to demonstrate how local decision makers will work together to deliver a strategic agenda for the benefit of all in their local area. Signing on to this expression of interest is the first step in the process.

A “Statement of Intent” has been submitted to Government which outlines the themes against which further discussions can now be organised. The aim is to give South West authorities a greater say and greater control over how the region can be developed, and greater autonomy in shaping its future.

Councillor Jane Whittaker – Leader of Torridge District Council commented: “This letter of intent represents only the first stage of a process which the Government must now endorse. It will provide a platform for Councils and other partners in the South West to explore more fully the benefits that devolution will potentially be able to offer the regions businesses, residents and visitors. In time members will have to decide whether the options that evolve represent the best way forward for the area. However we welcome the opportunity to be part of the process in what may prove to be a pivotal change in how priorities are determined, decisions are made and funding is allocated.”

North Devon Council Chief Executive, Mike Mansell says: “There is a huge potential for the whole area if we can persuade Government to shift more of the decision making down to the local area and away from Westminster. This expression of interest, supported by our partners across Devon and Somerset, is the first step in making this happen.”

The partners involved in the Devolution Statement are as follows:

  • Heart of the South West LEP
  • Somerset County Council
  • Somerset’s district and borough councils: Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset, Taunton Deane and West Somerset
  • Devon County Council
  • Devon’s district and borough councils: East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge and West Devon
  • Plymouth City Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • Torbay Council
  • Exmoor National Park
  • Dartmoor National Park

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Posted in: Democracy