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Bucks Council to put 'compelling' devolution proposal to Government

Buckinghamshire Council intends to submit a ‘strong, compelling’ devolution proposal to Government, five months after becoming the UK’s newest unitary authority.

The proposal is subject to being approved by the council’s cabinet when it meets on October 13.

The new council said it geographically aligns with the Local Enterprise Partnership, strategic NHS partners, business representative organisations and the voluntary and community sector.

Working together with these partners, the council is finalising a proposal that it says could add £10billion a year to the UK economy by 2050.

The hope is that this aligns with the Government’s forthcoming ‘Devolution White Paper’ – which paves the way for devolution bids across the country.

Bucks Council says it wants to be in the ‘vanguard of those areas who might benefit from devolution’ in the future.

Devolution is the transfer of power from central government to national, sub-regional and local governments.

Not much has been revealed about the White Paper yet, but it is thought it will include proposals for local government reorganisation, and potential combined authority mayors.

Cllr Martin Tett, leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said: “The Government’s election manifesto made clear its commitment to devolution across all of England, not just to cities.

“It is vital that the Government use its forthcoming White Paper to empower large unitary authorities such as Bucks to drive forward economic recovery and growth, along with tackling long standing social, environmental and health issues.

“As one of the newest and largest unitary authorities in the UK, with a proven track record of delivery, we have our sights set on a ‘best in class’ devolution settlement which can drive post-COVID recovery, benefiting the residents and businesses of Buckinghamshire, as well as creating jobs and prosperity for the UK economy as a whole.

“We are not looking for handouts, but rather the freedoms, flexibilities and investment to help rebuild this country and accelerate its economy post-COVID and Brexit”.

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