Moves to bring £9 billion of investment and 135,000 new jobs to Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire will require the county councils are to seek ‘devolved powers’ from government, a report states.
In December leaders of the three councils signed a declaration of intent to form England’s Economic Heartland, a scheme whereby the Conservative-led authorities would work together on major road plans, public transport initiatives and housing strategies across their borders.
This is in no way a merger of the county councils. While the counties will work together on strategic issues each authority will be a distinct entity and they will retain their roles and responsibilities in local issuesLeader of Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor Jim Harker
A report to be heard before Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet next month will hear how the alliance aims to press the Government to devolve powers to the region to make the move possible.
Councillor Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: “As the name suggests, England’s Economic Heartland is one of the powerhouses of the UK economy but we believe we can further build on our competitiveness in global markets with this innovative new model, and help ensure the UK is an even more prosperous major economy.
“We want to enhance the area’s reputation as a serious destination for the new economy industries and their employees, families and supply chains.”
But he added: “This is in no way a merger of the county councils. While the counties will work together on strategic issues each authority will be a distinct entity and they will retain their roles and responsibilities in local issues.”
England’s Economic Heartland wants the Government to provide the area with a five-year ‘Growth Deal’, which would guarantee a five year funding stream for major projects in the region.
The county council says the alliance between the three counties will ‘swell’ economic growth by a further £9 billion each year, creating at least 135,000 new jobs by 2020 it says
By working together on ‘infrastructural projects’, the county council says it will save money by “reducing bureaucratic red tape.”
Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet is set to discuss the proposals at a meeting on Tuesday, June 2.