“It’s a complex picture, and to paint Devon as just a place of cream teas and summer holidays does a disservice to everyone who lives here. Our politicians know that. It’s time the message got home to the London elites, in politics as well as the media.”
“The County Deals would start a huge debate about the structure of local government, and its relationship with business, particularly if there is no money at the end of it.”
What exactly can Devon expect from London?
Probably not the rather condescending stereotyping which has accompanied the latest news:
As pointed out in the comments page at Devon Live:
And by the agenda editor writing at Plymouth Live:
It’s a complex picture, and to paint Devon as just a place of cream teas and summer holidays does a disservice to everyone who lives here. Our politicians know that. It’s time the message got home to the London elites, in politics as well as the media.
So, what can we expect from London?
Quite a lot – according to the Westminster authorities:
There has, however, been rather a mixed bag of reactions from the sticks:
The top-tier councils certainly welcome the chance for more powers:
Devon, Torbay and Plymouth have been given a “ground-breaking opportunity” as one of nine areas invited to take part in the government’s “levelling up” programme, a council leader said. The County Deal for the three areas would focus on economic and social priorities, if successful.
Conservative leader of Devon County Council, John Hart, said they wanted to “end deep-rooted inequalities”.
A devolution deal for Devon has been agreed in principle. This would involve Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council working together, and they hope local councils will be provided with extra powers and influence to improve the communities they serve.
However, they are not keen on other elements of the package:
Council leaders say they don’t want Devon to have a new elected mayor as the government unveiled its ‘levelling up’ plans for the UK. The idea has come up under plans for a new combined authority for the county to take over government powers. The new body could control cross-council issues like training, housing, transport and business support.
But Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors all say they don’t want to see a new mayor in charge. Council leaders in Devon say they are waiting for more details and support greater partnership working. But they stress they don’t want to see the current system scrapped, and don’t want a new elected mayor…
And other stakeholders are rather sceptical of what’s on offer:
But business leaders have criticised the lack of cash for the region with big questions yet to be answered on how any new structure would work. Tim Jones, chair of South West Business Council, said: “There are no nuggets in this for the South West. It’s disappointing. They are taking a very complacent view of the South West being safe in Government circles.” He said the County Deals would start a huge debate about the structure of local government, and its relationship with business, particularly if “there is no money at the end of it”.
Meanwhile, other parts of the South West are voicing doubts about the ‘levelling up” promises:
Cornwall is highlighted as being one of nine areas which has been invited to start formal negotiations for a new devolution deal to bring new powers to the county.
It is also mentioned as being part of the Great South West “a powerhouse brand” which brings together Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
However when it looks at some of the funding and investment being made for Cornwall it consists of projects previously announced.