Politicians all have a shared aim

Meeting of reflection outside the Town Hall  for Jo Cox MP EMN-160617-171633009
Meeting of reflection outside the Town Hall for Jo Cox MP EMN-160617-171633009
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Peterborough City Council Leader cllr John Holdich

On Friday I joined councillors and politicians from across the political spectrum, alongside members of the public, to remember Jo Cox MP.

I’d never met Jo but from listening to the news reports that followed her senseless murder it sounds like she was a dedicated and compassionate politician, mother and human being.  The way that her life was snatched from her family was sickening.  

She was out serving her community and doing the job that her constituents wanted her to do.

As you know politicians in Peterborough have had some disagreements.  But one thing that every councillor has in common is that we want to help and improve our local communities.

Last week councils from across East Anglia published new devolution proposals.  All leaders agree that our residents would gain most by having two deals; one for Norfolk and Suffolk and the other for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Our proposed deal builds on, and is better than, the original offer from the government.

The next step is for our Full Council (and those of all councils involved) to vote to see if they agree with the proposals.  That takes place for us on Monday (27 June).  Government has made it clear that councils will need to approve the proposals locally before they will formally agree to them.

Our proposed deal could mean £270million of new money for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over the next five years alone; to improve infrastructure and build more houses.

Specifically in Peterborough that could mean establishing our own university, support with the regeneration of the city centre and an Enterprise Zone to encourage more new business to the city.

Devolution offers us more decision making powers over matters that affect all of our lives – more decisions about Cambridgeshire and Peterborough would be made in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, rather than imposed by central government.

For residents it’s about making Peterborough more prosperous; more and better quality jobs, more housing, upskilling residents, better roads and connectivity.

For businesses it’s about making Peterborough as attractive as possible, through a skilled labour market meeting their needs, better transport routes and more housing for employees.

It would also mean the formation of a new combined authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough as well as an elected mayor for the area. But Peterborough City Council would keep its sovereignty and continue to deliver services to residents as we do currently.

You can find out more, and comment, by visiting www.peterborough.gov.uk/devolution and if we do move forward there will be a formal public consultation over the summer.

Next week, councillors will also be discussing plans to make permanent the current shared chief executive role.

Since November 2015, Gillian Beasley has held the shared role across Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

This arrangement saves the city council £110,000 every year and helps us to work better with our neighbours.  

We share, and sell, services to local authorities across the UK and this helps us generate income to protect and improve services in Peterborough.

The shared arrangement is only possible because we have such an experienced and capable chief executive.

This week we named two gritters after our longest-ever serving councillor and his wife.  

I have no doubt that Charles and Brenda will keep our roads clear of snow and ice for many years to come.