Devolution for Somerset
At the moment, Central Government makes many decisions about what happens here in Somerset.
Devolution would give us the powers and resources to help fulfil our economic and social ambitions.
There is a great opportunity for Somerset to redefine its economic ambitions and to become recognised as a distinctive, clean, green and innovative economy based on bedrock and high-growth industries supported by better social and economic infrastructure.
We have set out seven key themes for devolution which address Somerset’s distinctive challenges and opportunities.
Our proposals across each of our devolution themes have been put forward on the basis they pass four ‘tests’.
- accelerate recovery from COVID-19
- support the levelling up of the national economy
- deliver on national and local climate change commitments
- enable delivery that is more efficient and effective through a locally and regionally based approach.
And this is where our plan for a Combined Authority is so important.
A Combined Authority
Stronger Somerset believes our goals for growth across Somerset are best achieved through the delivery of a Combined Authority and a bold and compelling devolution deal [link].
We intend to develop detailed proposals for a combined authority with our neighbours and in the context of the broad partnerships and joint working arrangements that exist in our region. Part of these conversations will explore the potential shape of a combined authority, including options that include our close neighbours in the Historic County of Somerset.
We anticipate seeking a ‘single pot’ approach to local growth, which would involve:
- a devolved, multi-year settlement – this will accelerate the delivery of public investment and leverage more sustained private sector investment in our region – both of which are critical issues for post COVID-19 recovery
- flexible funding – this will enable investment to be made on a more integrated basis across policy areas, and thus allow us to prioritise a programme of interventions which will have maximum impact on productivity and good growth.
We are also interested in exploring innovative ways of delivering our devolution deal with Government. We are attracted to new ways of delivering deals for example, by building and empowering local and sub-regional communities of interest around our themes, using digital technologies and more agile ways of engaging stakeholders.
Using digital platforms can create a more vibrant and collaborative programme involving a wider group of local stakeholders and talent in investment in the formation of our plans.