New devolution deal is ‘on the right track’ says district council leader

Executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Councillor Robin Howe

Executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Councillor Robin Howe - Credit: Archant

Councillors in Huntingdonshire must decide by the end of June whether they will back a new deal for devolution in Cambridgeshire.

That was the message from the new executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Councillor Robin Howe, who was appointed to the role last month.

Cllr Howe told The Hunts Post: “June 29 is when my council has to decide which direction they want to go in.”

Following the decision by Cambridgeshire County Council to reject the original deal for East Anglian devolution in April, meetings have been held with senior council officials and the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, to discuss a new proposal.

“We feel that we are very happy and that we are on the right track. It is a far more comfortable thing for us to talk about as we can touch the sides of where the deal would cover,” said Cllr Howe.

According to Cllr Howe, Mr Clark has been discussing the potential of a deal solely for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“We think Cambridgeshire and Peterborough generate a very high proportion of the wealth within this region and we would like to see that this is retained in this region.”

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It comes after calls from Cambridgeshire County Council and other authorities for the Government to go back to the drawing board following concerns over the original deal for East Anglia.

“Although we support devolution, we felt uncomfortable from the beginning about the original devolution deal,” said Cllr Howe.

Under the Chancellor George Osborne’s original plans for the region, an elected mayor for East Anglia, covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, would be handed millions of pounds of control over spending and aspects of planning.

District councillors will make a decision on the new deal at a special meeting of the authority scheduled for June 29.