Secretary of State Meeting Boosts Devolution Plans

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s hopes for a successful devolution bid have received a boost, after Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark hosted a meeting yesterday (17 November) to learn more about the bid.

The Secretary of State invited some of the council and business leaders involved in the bid to Westminster so he could learn more about the area’s plans and receive greater detail on specific elements of proposals.

Plans presented by Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in its prospectus, submitted to government earlier this autumn, focus on four key themes: boosting business and skills for work; accelerating housing delivery; investing in infrastructure; and transforming public services.

Within these themes, projects will deliver on the government’s productivity plan to 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; and higher employment and better wages

The time invested by the Secretary of State in the meeting gives increased confidence to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight bid. Work to progress the devolution deal will now take place between his officials and local council and business leaders.

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, was present at the meeting and said: “We had a friendly and productive meeting with the Secretary of State and it is clear that the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area is very well regarded in Government. We are meeting before the end of November with our other local partners who were not present yesterday, as it is important that they should have a chance to hear about what was discussed and consider together how far we can go in pressing the Government to transfer meaningful power to residents and businesses in our area.”

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