Latest information on EDDC and devolution – done deal

Pages 104-116 here:

Click to access 280616-overview-agenda-combined.pdf


A summary:

Our Prospectus for Prosperity was submitted to Government at the end of February 2016. Since then the Partnership has pressed the Secretary of State to enter into discussion with its negotiation team to secure a deal for the Heart of the South West.

Following an invitation from the Secretary of State, on the 25th May 2016, leaders from the upper tier authorities met with the Greg Clarke, Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government to seek his view on our next steps forward.

The Secretary of State made the following comments:

Geography – the Devon and Somerset area is agreed as the appropriate scale. The proposal must clearly demonstrate why this is the right geography for the Devolution agreement and all councils and MPs must support the proposal.

Combined Authority – the Partnership will move forward into the negotiation process based on a Combined Authority model. The Mayoral issue may be considered at a later stage, within the timeline agreed by our Partnership. A Mayor will not be imposed or be a pre-condition of any initial deal.

Extent of the deal – areas that have agreed to have a Mayor will get more powers than a non-Mayoral Combined Authority deal. However, the negotiation process will be an opportunity to push the limits of this initial deal, and the process should be viewed as being incremental.

Timeline – we will still work towards an Autumn Statement timeline for the announcement of an initial deal.

Growth Deal 3 – the LEP would not be penalised in Growth Deal 3 negotiations because the area does not have a Devolution deal with a Mayor. The decision for allocation will be based purely on the quality of the Growth Deal bid.

The Secretary of State went on to advise that if the Partnership, backed by each Council and MPs, would sign up to the principle of creating a Combined Authority by the end of July 2016 he would arrange for the Treasury to open up negotiations towards a deal.

This report seeks approval to sign up ‘in principle’ to the pursuit of a Devolution Deal and the creation of a Combined Authority for the Heart of the South West sub-region to administer the powers devolved through the Deal.

An ‘in principle’ agreement from all of the authorities, partners and MPs involved in the Heart of the South West devolution process will open up negotiations with Treasury to work towards a deal.

Any final devolution deal with government will be subject to further approval/ratification by all partners individually. A Heads of Terms document will be used as a negotiating tool to seek additional powers and funding to accelerate the delivery of 163,000 new jobs, 179,000 new homes and an economy of over £53bn GVA by 2030.

It should be noted that there is no intention for the Combined Authority to take existing powers or funding from local authorities, or existing city deal governance structures, without the explicit agreement of those constituent local authorities. More detailed work will be undertaken to identify the decision-making powers and the constitution of the Combined Authority, and all partners will be fully involved and consulted on these arrangements as they develop.”