Norfolk's Devolution Deal Alive But Reservations Remain

15 Jan 2024

Norfolk's proposed devolution deal is still 'on the table' following a meeting of the County Council in December.

Under the proposals, Norfolk would receive £600 million from Government over a 30 year period to spend on new infrastructure projects, and there would also be extra funding for brownfield development, transfer of the adult education budget, money for skills development, and a co-ordinated transport budget.

However, if the deal is to go ahead, the Council will have to change its governance arrangements to allow for the election of a Directly Elected Leader (DEL) in May 2025. This will coincide with the next elections to the County Council. Leader of the Lib Dems in Norfolk, Brian Watkins, said that although his group were supportive of the principle of devolution, there were a number of reservations that needed to be addressed before the Council made a final decision in July.

Cllr Brian Watkins

Cllr Brian Watkins, Leader of the Lib Dems in Norfolk

"It's important that Norfolk doesn't get left behind, and the deal does potentially offer an opportunity for the county to move forward. However, it is far from perfect and we will be looking for further improvements in the coming months. We musn't be sold short. More efforts also need to be made to get all of the district councils properly onside, and the Council needs to do far more to 'sell' the likely benefits of the deal to residents across Norfolk. That hasn't happened yet!"

You can watch Cllr Watkins' speech about the County Deal at the County Council meeting in December here:

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