The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry has today welcomed positive support from Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s MPs at a parliamentary reception for devolution plans for the area.
The future of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight was the focus of a Westminster event last night (14 December), hosted by the area’s devolution bid and attended by a majority of the area’s 19 MPs. The session was sponsored by North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena, who chairs the recently-formed Hampshire and IOW All Party Parliamentary Group. MPs, Council Leaders and Executives from across Hampshire were able to discuss the ambitious devolution plans and speak to the partners involved, including the emergency services, National Parks representatives and the business community.
Commenting following the event, Councillor Perry said: “The Secretary of State, Greg Clark MP has stressed the importance of MP support for devolution bids across the country, and it was good to see such significant backing from Hampshire and Isle of Wight MPs. 11 of our 19 MPs were present – demonstrating their firm commitment to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight bid, by show of force. Further backing and support has been expressed by key MPs who could not make the date.
“We recognise the pressures facing the North of the country but the South of England cannot be taken for granted. We are keen to secure an ambitious devolution deal for our area and we will achieve more if we do this together.”
A successful devolution deal for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight would enable the area to gain greater control of the decisions that affect residents and businesses, with better financial prospects. The aim of handing down more powers from central Government to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight would be to increase the productivity of the local economy and deliver efficiencies, greater economic growth and prosperity, and better public services for local people.
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s devolution proposals are set out in a prospectus submitted to central government on behalf of 15 councils, two Local Enterprise Partnerships and two National Park Authorities. The bid has also received the support of Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Should the proposals be successful, with hopes high for a possible devolution announcement in the New Year, there will then need to be important consultation with the wider public. The ambitious nature of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight devolution deal, and number of partners involved, mean it could become a blueprint for cities and regions across the country to follow.
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s proposals focus around four key themes: boosting business and skills for work; accelerating housing delivery; investing in infrastructure; and transforming public services.
Within these themes, projects would deliver on the government’s productivity plan and rural productivity plan and ensure: more homes are built; more efficient local planning; further expansion of broadband; better mobile connectivity; improved transport connections; a more highly-skilled workforce with employers setting the skills agenda locally; higher employment and better wages