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Press Release

16 December

Westminster event puts focus on Hampshire and the Isle of Wight devolution

The future of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight was in focus at Westminster yesterday as the area's devolution bid hosted a parliamentary reception.

The event, sponsored by North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena, was an opportunity for MPs to hear more about the ambitious plans and speak to the partners involved.

Despite a full parliamentary schedule, 11 of the area's 19 MPs attended the two-hour event where they met with Leaders and chief executives from the partners as well as representatives from the emergency services and business community. Further backing and support has been expressed by other MPs who could not make the date due to diary pressures.

Mr Jayawardena, chair of the newly-established Hampshire and Isle of Wight All Party Parliamentary Group said: "It was a pleasure to come together yesterday evening to celebrate the significant progress on the devolution deal for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The fact that so many MPs are supportive is testimony to the widespread support and benefits that we see in devolving powers to local areas. I look forward to working together to create a more prosperous Hampshire and Isle of Wight, and increasing our contribution to the success of the UK as a whole."

Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Sean Woodward said: "The offer that Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has made to government is game changing in terms of the ability we would have for local people rather than faceless Whitehall bureaucrats to make decisions on infrastructure improvements and designating greenbelt status for our important strategic gaps.  If we are to provide more housing we must have guaranteed investment in infrastructure and the ability to protect the areas of countryside which define our communities."

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 & Rescue Service.

Should the proposals be successful, the ambitious nature of the 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 will 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.
 

ENDS


Information for journalists

For further general information on Hampshire and the Isle of Wight's devolution bid please contact:

Lee Todd - 023 9268 8073 or corporate.communications@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

For information, quotes or queries relating to specific local authorities, please contact the relevant council's communications team.

The 15 local authorities, two local enterprise partnerships and two national park authorities which have jointly submitted the bid, are:

The bid has also received the support of Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service.

Should the proposals be successful, the ambitious nature of the 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 are set out in a prospectus submitted to government in September and 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 will 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.

Plans for homes include accelerated delivery of existing local plans, as well as an additional 500 homes a year in the priority home categories of rural affordable, low-cost starter, council new-build and extra care, by making use of exception sites including redundant public land.

Until central government confirms what it would award to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, it is not possible to say what structure the devolved arrangement may take. However, rather than creating a new layer of government, the aim is to bring existing decision making powers from Whitehall down to a local level.

Furthermore, the partners would work to deepen devolution locally, and seek opportunities for district and parish councils to take on extra functions and develop services with communities.

The overall aim is to make Hampshire and the Isle of Wight an even better place to live and work, by growing the economy in urban and rural areas without compromising what makes these areas special. This would include maintaining valued open spaces through measures such as greenbelt, and working hard to encourage the involvement of local people in the design of their own communities.

 



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Fareham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Hampshire, PO16 7AZ
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