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The East Midlands could be given new powers in its first devolution deal ThePipaNews

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The East Midlands could gain new powers to improve transport, control the education budget and build homes in a first-of-its-kind devolution deal if the Government’s equalization proposals go through.

The initiative, announced by the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities on Tuesday, would see a Mayoral Combined County Authority in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and the election of a mayor.

The holder of the new role would be responsible for delivering local priorities including education, infrastructure and housebuilding, supported by an investment fund of £38m a year, totaling £1.14bn over 30 years.

Equalization Secretary Greg Clark said the East Midlands has the potential to ‘lead Britain’s economy of the future’ (Beresford Hodge/PA) / PA thread

The mayor would be granted compulsory purchase powers, the ability to designate mayoral development areas and establish Mayoral Development Corporations, similar to those found in parts of London, to promote growth and build new housing.

The Mayoral Combined County Authority would have control over an adult education budget and the ability to increase control over transportation infrastructure.

However, the new devolution model is dependent on parliamentary approval of the government’s flagship equalization and renewal proposal and necessary secondary legislation, as well as a public consultation.

The bill this week drew criticism from a group of cross-party MPs on the equalisation, housing and communities committee who said it lacked detail and did “little to ensure” that a level up is “more than a slogan”.

Despite criticism at a relatively early stage of the bill’s passage, an election for the role of mayor is expected to take place in 2024.

Announcing the deal on Tuesday, Equalities Secretary Greg Clark said: “The East Midlands is renowned for its economic dynamism and it has the potential to lead the UK’s future economy.

Taking decisions from Whitehall and putting them back into the hands of local people is fundamental to reaching a level and this deal does that

“I have long believed that the East Midlands should have the powers and devolved budgets that other areas of the UK have benefited from and I am delighted to be able to deliver that in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

“I am impressed with the way in which councils in the region have come together to agree the first deal of its kind in the country, which will benefit residents of all major towns, cities and villages across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.”

“Taking decisions out of Whitehall and putting them back into the hands of local people is fundamental to achieving levels and this deal does that.”

The new East Midlands Combined County Authority would be granted control of over £17m of extra funding to build new homes on brownfield land in 2024/25, subject to enough eligible projects being identified for funding.

A further £18m has been agreed to support housing priorities and drive towards carbon neutrality in the area.

In a joint statement, Ben Bradley MP, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council, Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, and David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said the deal was “fantastic news” .

They said: “As leaders, we have all fought for a fairer share for our cities and counties, and a greater voice for our area, to give us the influence and influence we deserve, and to help us live up to our full potential.

“This agreement would help make that a reality, creating more and better jobs through greater investment in our area, with increased economic growth, better transport, housing, skills training and an improved greener environment, as we move towards becoming carbon neutral.

“This is what we all want to see, and we will work together for the common good of the East Midlands.

“We haven’t always had the same level of funding or influence as other areas, which has held us back. This is a golden opportunity to change that and put the power to do so in our own hands.

“Much remains to be agreed, and this is the beginning of the journey, not the end. We are committed to building on this deal over time, as other areas have done.”

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