Peterborough City Council agrees to devolution deal with Cambridgeshire authorities

Peterborough City Council has given its backing to a devolution deal with authorities is Cambridgeshire.

Tuesday, 28th June 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:08 pm
John Holdich at the Town Hall EMN-151130-162627009

Councillors last night (Monday, June 27) passed a motion to create a combined authority with an elected mayor from May 2017.

If other councils in Cambridgeshire agree to the same deal, which is being put to the Government, then work will accelerate to get the new authority in place for next year.

A new combined authority, with its elected mayor, would sit separately to the councils and spend the money and use the new powers offered by the Government.

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These include:

. A new £20 million annual fund for the next 30 years to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs - some of which the city council said it will consider borrowing against

. A new £170 million housing fund to be invested over the next five years

. A Peterborough Enterprise Zone - allowing for businesses in the city centre to receive a five-year exemption on paying business rates

. A Peterborough University with degree-awarding powers

. Control over an existing £30 million a year adult skills budget

. A devolved transport budget, although the A14 and A47 at Wansford are not included in this.

The council and its leader Councillor John Holdich, who would sit on the cabinet of the authority, have described the devolution deal as the best in the country and stressed that no sovereignty will be lost from the change.

However, opposition councillors had expressed reservations about adding a new tier of administration which they wanted to avoid.

A public consultation will now be launched on the proposals for the next couple of months, and the plan is for Parliament to pass a bill in October to give the combined authority the go ahead.

The council was told by the Government yesterday that the vote to take Britain out of the European Union, and the lingering threat of a general election, would not stop the devolution deal from going ahead.

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