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Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils respond to new ‘County Deal’

Posted by Communications on 4 February 2022 | Comments

The leaders of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have welcomed the news that Suffolk is one of nine counties invited to negotiate a ground-breaking devolution deal – bringing more control over areas such as transport, infrastructure and skills to the region.

The Government’s Levelling Up White Paper, published this week, outlines a blueprint for driving up living standards and improving opportunity and prosperity across the country.

As part of it, Suffolk is one of nine county areas invited to negotiate a historic ‘County Deal’ - a new devolution model that, subject to negotiations, will give local leaders more powers to make decisions for their communities for the first time.

This could include greater control over buses and trains, to deliver London style public transport or skills programmes which focus on the needs of local people to help them access the high quality, high paying jobs of the future.

Cllr Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:

“We are hugely ambitious for Suffolk, so to be one of the few areas in the country to be offered a county deal is a fantastically welcome opportunity. We are eager to enter the next phase of negotiations with Government to develop our county deal. We intend to secure maximum benefits and investment for Suffolk.

“This deal is the result of an ongoing dialogue to promote Suffolk to central Government, strongly supported by our MPs and partnership working with district and borough councils.

“Going forward this partnership working will continue alongside health partners, emergency services, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the chamber of commerce. This stands us in good stead to make a success of Suffolk’s county deal.”

Cllr John Ward, Leader of Babergh District Council, said:

"This is a positive step for our county and for Babergh, offering us a real chance to address regional inequalities and put decision-making in the hands of those that best understand their communities.

“We now look forward to examining the full details of the white paper and engaging fully in further discussions with our partners and the Government to consider how a county deal, and the policies and funding that must come with it, can work best for Suffolk.”

Cllr Suzie Morley, Leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said:

“I am delighted that Suffolk is one of the nine areas chosen for a county deal.  In Mid Suffolk, we are already looking at how we reduce inequalities within our district with a clear focus and investment in the wellbeing of our residents and communities. 

“A well-negotiated county deal offers far greater scope for us addressing these inequalities at a regional level, ensuring greater accountability here in Suffolk for powers previously held in Westminster.  Now we must examine the detail and ensure we secure the best possible deal.”

The eight other areas invited to negotiate County Deals are Cornwall; Derbyshire and Derby; Devon, Plymouth and Torbay; Durham; Hull and East Yorkshire; Leicestershire; Norfolk; Nottinghamshire and Nottingham.