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Date published: 30th June 2016
North Norfolk District Council has rejected the proposed Devolution Deal for Norfolk and Suffolk.
At a full council meeting last night Members voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposed devolution settlement for the region, which was to set up a new combined authority for the two counties under the leadership of a directly elected mayor.
The combined authority and the mayor would have had the power to fund themselves by additional charges on council tax bills.
Now the Council has rejected the devolution deal, residents in north Norfolk will not need to respond to any consultation on the proposed scheme of governance for the mayoral combined authority because it will not apply to them.
During the debate Members criticised the lack of meaningful consultation; the fact that the devolution deal had been handed down from Whitehall and not generated locally.
Members were also very concerned that an Elected Mayor for such a large region wouldn’t work and that taxpayers were effectively being asked to fund two new layers of government (a Mayor and a Combined Authority) without any idea of how much it would cost; and at the end of the day only benefit from funding equivalent to 1.5 miles of dual carriageway a year.
Cllr Tom FitzPatrick, Leader of the Council said: “I am a supporter of devolution of power from central government to local authorities, but with the uncertainties from the loss of European funding and the uncertainty over costs and the concerns about an elected Mayor, Members felt strongly this was not the right time nor the right deal. Had we consulted and then pulled out in October, this would have potentially caused the collapse of the package for those who did want to go ahead.
"Throughout this process I have said that my main concern was to ensure that what was on offer was best for the people of North Norfolk. We will continue to fight to get a deal which is right for us."
Cllr Andrew Wells, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at North Norfolk District Council said: “North Norfolk’s negotiators worked hard to put together a package that would work for the people we represent, but the process has been rushed and chaotic from the start.
“We are all committed to winning more control over local services and investment for our residents, but the final deal just created more unaccountable bureaucracy. There wasn’t the detail, there wasn’t the funding, and the risks for our area were immense."
Last updated: 6th July 2016