Surrey submits devolution proposal to Government

Western Morning News

SURREY could get more say over its education, transport, housing and business policies after an official devolution bid was made to the Government

By Surrey Mirror  |  Posted: September 30, 2015

‘BEST BUSINESS’: David Cameron

In what is being described as “the most radical shake-up of local governance in a generation” the county is among 38 councils in cities, towns and counties in the UK to call for greater powers over its own affairs.

The Surrey bid, made along with East and West Sussex county councils, was submitted to Communities Secretary Greg Clark.

It contained a number of “devolution offers”, whereby the councils would take on more powers to manage the economic growth in the region while also dealing with pressures on school places and road and rail infrastructure.

A letter was sent co-signed by Surrey County Council leader David Hodge, West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith and East Sussex leader Keith Glazier.

In it the trio said: “Together we can ensure that the right decisions are made in the right places to guarantee that the current contribution to our nation’s success and finances is not only continued but also expanded to the full potential it can reach. Our three counties are special places with a strong sense of identity and place.

“They are achieving the delicate and fundamental challenge of balancing strong growth and preserving a beautiful environment.

“However, their ability to sustain that crucial balance needs us all to work differently.”

The devolution proposals follow similar plans in Greater Manchester last year as the Government looks to hand more powers and greater control to councils.

Mr Clark said the number of applications for devolution shows there is an appetite from councils who wanted more say over how their communities are run.

“The sheer volume of bids we’ve received, from cities and counties, demonstrates how local leaders are embracing this opportunity to have a direct hand in shaping the future of their area, whether in skills, transport, housing or healthcare,” he said.

Announcing the applications last week Prime Minister David Cameron added: “The best businesses would never shy away from allowing their customers to shape the way they improve their services.

“If we are bold enough, government can go one better by actually putting many of those services in the hands of local people. It is also a proven reality that money spent closer to people is often money spent wiser – so we can really deliver more for less.”

The proposals will now be considered as part of the Spending Review process.

Successful bids will be approved per the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill which is currently passing through Parliament.


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