Council Leader speaks out about devolution deal

Council Leader, Councillor Steve Fritchley is urging local residents to be cautious and express their honest views when completing a survey about the East Midlands County Combined Authority deal.

The four upper tier authorities that cover Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham is seeking the views of everyone across the county on the proposed devolution deal.

But Steve has argued since day one that the deal is not good for Bolsover District, believing that local district and parish councils are best placed to deliver services, not a mayor across two counties.

Councillor Steve Fritchley said, “Although I am not against reform, it’s the level of reform that I am against. I do not, and cannot agree to devolving powers to large county regions that have no connection with their local communities and struggle to deliver their current services.

“I do not agree with drastic cost and job cutting exercises which could result in hundreds, if not thousands of people losing their jobs. District and Parish Councils are local government personified. They understand the challenges local communities face, they know how to resolve issues or solve problems that benefit the local communities. And they know what works.

“I believe that if we were governed by a mayor then places such as Tibshelf, Pinxton, Creswell and Whitwell would be forgotten as they would look after the more prominent, larger towns and conurbations.”

The devolution deal ‘promises’ to bring in funding to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire of around £1.14 billion over 30 years. This equates to around £19 per head of population – what will that be worth in 30-years’ time? It also states that an election takes place for an Elected Mayor in May 2024 who would represent more than two million people with the new authority having strategic powers in areas such as transport and economic policy.

Cllr Fritchley added, “Do we really want an elected mayor sat miles away with no knowledge or affiliation to Bolsover District governing what happens in the area?

“One of the most striking things for me though is that the deal does not take into account inflation. I have asked for clarification on this many times and have never received an answer! Prices are rising all the time, but it seems that the money does not, so what may seem a good deal today, will essentially be worthless in 30 years. So are we really getting a good deal?

“I would therefore ask our local residents to think very carefully before completing the survey. Local government is about local people and delivering good quality local services – something which I believe a large combined authority simply won’t be able to do. My message is simple and clear – keep it local and maintain democracy.”

The consultation will run from 14 November 2022 until 9 January 2023.

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