The new Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been signed off by the Government ahead of elections for a new county-wide mayor.
Secretary of State for Local Government Sajid Javid signed off an order which had been debated and agreed in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
The combined authority will be led by an elected mayor and will have £20 million a year for the next 30 years to spend on boosting growth and £170 million for housing, of which £70 million has been ringfenced solely for Cambridge.
The first tranche of funding will be made available at the end of March.
A fully-fledged Peterborough University has also been promised under the devolution deal with the Government which set up the combined authority.
Councillor Robin Howe, chair of the combined authority, said: “This is a major milestone in the future of our region and we are thrilled to have been formally constituted by the Secretary of State.
“The members and officers of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority are committed and determined to bring real change to the people of this area and we are looking ahead to our first meeting on March 20, and the mayoral election on May 4.”
The combined authority will include the mayor, leaders of the county’s seven councils (including Peterborough City Council) and a representative from the Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership.
The authority has now been granted:
· Responsibility for chairing an area-based review of 16+ skills provision
· Joint responsibility with government and the single Employment and Skills Board to co-design the new National Work and Health Programme designed to focus on those with a health condition or disability and the very long term unemployed
· Responsibility to develop a more effective joint working with the Department for International Trade to boost trade and investment through agreement of a Joint Export Plan.
Powers which have been devolved to the new mayor as part of the devolution plan include:
· Responsibility for a multi-year, consolidated and devolved transport budget
· Responsibility for an identified Key Route Network of local authority roads that will be managed and maintained by the combined authority on behalf of the mayor
· Powers over strategic planning,
A shadow combined authority has previously been meeting while government confirmation was being sought.
The first meeting of the official combined authority will take place on Monday, March 20 at The Boathouse in Wisbech from 2pm to 4pm.
A publicity campaign around the election of a mayor to head up the new authority, called ‘Our Mayor, Your Vote’, has also been launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government today (Monday, March 6).