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‘Best in class’ devolution bid proposed by Buckinghamshire Council to drive post-Covid recovery

| September 25, 2020

Buckinghamshire Council intends to submit a strong, compelling and best in class devolution proposal to the Government.

The proposal, which is subject to being approved by the Council’s Cabinet when it meets next month, demonstrates both the ambition and the potential of the new Buckinghamshire Council which was launched on Wednesday 1st April 2020.

The new council 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 now finalising an ambitious proposal that could not only benefit the economic and social revival of Buckinghamshire, but could add £10 billion a year to the UK economy by 2050.

The hope is that this aligns with the Government’s forthcoming ‘Devolution White Paper’, which will pave the way for devolution bids across the country and Buckinghamshire wants to be in the vanguard of those areas who might benefit from devolution in the future.

In putting forward this proposal the new council, together with the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, has chosen to withdraw from the Oxford to Cambridge ‘ARC Leaders Group’ and present a bid led by business opportunities and strengths in key growth sectors.

Cllr Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, commented: ‘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.

Andrew M. Smith, Chair of the Buckinghamshire LEP said: ‘Buckinghamshire has super strengths of high tech and medi-tech, space and creative and digital industries. When combined with our physical location at the centre of major growth hubs, our proven track record of delivery and strong partnerships between local government, business and health, we know there is huge potential for us to turbo charge our economic recovery.

Michael Garvey, Chairman of the Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF) said: ‘Post-Covid it is very important that Buckinghamshire is free to be ‘business led’. It has become clear that business needs to be able to form alliances and exploit opportunities wherever they lie, rather than being tied to a particular geography.

Bucks business will embrace growth and recovery opportunities in working with partners across many areas including Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire or Surrey.

It is important to stress that we will work with a broad range of organisations and industries to maximise business opportunities wherever they occur.

Buckinghamshire Council is confident that its devolution and recovery proposal will be ambitious and compelling. Martin, Andrew and Michael agreed that: ‘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.

*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.

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