Autumn Statement goes to 'Devo 4'

22/11/2023
Martin Ford

More powers will be offered to areas with a level 3 devolution deal, the Government has announced as part of the Autumn Statement.

A framework for ‘level 4’ deals has been published, which will allow combined authorities with elected mayors to apply for devolved powers over adult skills, local transport and housing on a par with the trailblazer deals in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

Following the next Spending Review, level 4 areas will also be offered a ‘consolidated pot’ of funding covering local growth and place, and housing and regeneration as a ‘stepping stone’ to receiving trailblazer-style single settlements.

The chancellor Jeremy Hunt also confirmed new level 3 deals with Greater Lincolnshire and Hull and East Yorkshire.

The proposed deal with Lincolnshire CC, North East Lincolnshire, and North Lincolnshire would see a £720m investment fund, £8.6m brownfield fund and £20m of capital funding passed to a Greater Lincolnshire Mayoral Combined County Authority.

Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council have secured a £400m investment fund, £4.6m brownfield funding, and £20m capital funding under their proposed deal.

Proposed elections for mayors in both areas would take place in May 2025.

Cornwall Council, which previously rejected a proposed level 3 deal, has renegotiated a level 2 deal including devolution of the adult education budget and £500,000 to support Cornish distinctiveness.

Lancashire CC, Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen BC have agreed a proposal to create a Lancashire Combined County Authority. It would also have control of the adult skills budget alongside £20m capital funding.

The Government said it intended ‘to expand level 2 devolution to eligible councils across England that represent a whole county or functional economic area’.

It is thought that Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Surrey and Warwickshire will be offered level 2 deals.

A trailblazer deal with the North East is expected to be finalised in spring 2024.

Mr Hunt also announced investment zones in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands focused on advanced manufacturing, in the East Midlands based around green industries, and a fourth covering Wrexham and Flintshire.

The remaining seven investment zones will be confirmed by summer 2024.

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