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Press Release

04 September 2015

Business rates key to Hampshire and Isle of Wight devolution bid

A bold bid to retain all business rates could make Hampshire and Isle of Wight the master of its own destiny.

The proposal is included in a prospectus submitted to central government on behalf of 15 councils, two local enterprise partnerships and two national park authorities.

Should it 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.

In return for foregoing Revenue Support Grants from central government, the document asks to keep 100 per cent of business rates generated in the area.

The move would reduce Hampshire and Isle of Wight's dependency on money from central government and put greater impetus on the partners involved to boost the success of businesses in the region.

If this comes to fruition, the area will be responsible for its own income and therefore need to make sure it attracts businesses and has the conditions for them to thrive in order to generate funds.

Hampshire County Council, Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth and Southampton City Council's and 11 district councils are working together on the project along with the Solent and Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnerships and New Forest and South Downs National Park Authorities.

The bid has also received the support of Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire & Rescue and NHS England Wessex.

Hampshire and 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, 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 higher-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 it is confirmed what central government would award to Hampshire and Isle of Wight it isn't possible to say what structure the devolved arrangement would take, but 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 will 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 Isle of Wight an even better place to live and work by growing the economy in urban and rural areas without destroying what makes them special. This would include maintaining valued open spaces through measures such as greenbelt and working hard to bring local people more into the design of their own communities.

Following the submission of Hampshire and Isle of Wight's devolution prospectus, central government is expected to make a decision on the proposals later this year.

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

•           Hampshire County Council

•           Isle of Wight Council

•           Portsmouth City Council

•           Southampton City Council

•           Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council

•           East Hants District Council

•           Eastleigh Borough Council

•           Fareham Borough Council

•           Gosport Borough Council

•           Hart District Council

•           Havant Borough Council

•           New Forest District Council

•           Rushmoor Borough Council

•           Test Valley Borough Council

•           Winchester City Council

•           Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership

•           Solent Local Enterprise Partnership

•           New Forest National Park Authority

•           South Downs National Park Authority


For local quotes and queries please contact:

Becca Bennett, PR and Marketing Support Assistant, 01329 824609

For general queries please contact:

Lydia Forbes-Manson
East Hampshire District Council
01730 234359

or John Millard, as below.

Issued By:
John Millard, Communications Officer
Tel: 023 9284 1395
Email :



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