Devolution revolution must be brought to the South West, councils argue

Local authorities in the South West have called for an increased rate of devolution in order to help boost the economy in their region.

In a prospectus submitted to the government, councils leaders and business chiefs in Devon and Somerset argued that they should receive more powers, claiming that the extra freedom would allow them to deliver an extra £4bn to the economy by 2030, in addition to 163,000 new jobs and 179,000 more homes.

The submission also promises wage levels above the national average, better infrastructure and 100 per cent superfast broadband coverage. It argues the predicted growth would be more than the collected growth of Birmingham, Bristol and Nottingham over the last fifteen years.

John Osman, Somerset County Council leader, said: “This is a truly exciting opportunity for all the local authorities involved in this work. We have come together with the common aim of making the most of devolution for our residents and shared priorities around skills, employment and infrastructure.

“The bid reflects our pride in what the region has to offer and our ambitions for its future potential. I look forward to taking the next steps with colleagues from across the South West.”

John Hart, Devon County Council leader, said: “We are presenting a united front to the government and saying this is our vision for our region, let's negotiate on how you can help us to achieve it.

“I firmly believe, as local people, we can do things more effectively and more efficiently locally than being told what to do by London.”