Essex bid for more power to be submitted next year

Howard Rolfe

Howard Rolfe - Credit: Archant

A bid to give councils in Essex more power is set to be sent to the Government next year.

Councils are working towards a devolution deal, which is hoped to transfer more power from Whitehall to the county.

Councillor Howard Rolfe, leader of Uttlesford District Council and chairman of the Essex-wide leaders group, said: “The devolution agenda gives great opportunity for Greater Essex. Many people will have heard of the Northern Powerhouse initiative and the Greater Essex devolution project shares many similarities.

“There has been real recognition from Government that decisions that impact people and businesses are better made at a more level.

“That is why in September, all 15 district, borough, city, county and unitary authorities in Greater Essex wrote to the Government to express our interest in exploring this opportunity and this is now starting to take shape with a view of signing a deal next year, if we can get a deal that is in the best interests of our residents.

“We want devolution to give us collectively more powers to have a say on the issues that affect us locally. That means having greater influence and control to ensure skills training supports our businesses and gives our residents productive high-value jobs, making sure we have the infrastructure to support economic growth and the housing that our communities need, having a more integrated transport system, and ensuring we are able to take advantage of the potential from digital.”

Cllr Rolfe added: “Ultimately the aim of getting more power from Government is to allow residents to have more say on the issues that affect us all.”

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If approved by all councils, a formal bid will go to Government to approval next year.