Futures Forum: Devon County Council and devolution: "What we’ve asked the government is what extra do we get if we have a mayor. We haven’t had that answer yet. We haven’t got a clue what that’ll bring up."
It appears that he is voicing more concerns:
DCC LEADER HAS SECOND (AND THIRD) THOUGHTS ABOUT DEVOLUTION
26 May 2016
A report by Totnes (Green) DCC councillor Robert Vine
“Here’s the webcast of the County Council Annual Meeting where the Leader, John Hart, has a serious rethink about whether to keep supporting the Devolution Bid. Watch from 01:04:00 to 01:12:45 or click “13: Cabinet Member Reports” in the right margin.
In the Minutes it says “Councillor Hart commented, as requested by Councillor Greenslade, on progress with the HOSW devolution bid and advised that a response to repeated requests for a meeting with the Minister to discuss the HOSW bid was still awaited. He recognised the increasing concerns expressed over the imposition of a Mayoral system about which as yet there was no clarification and reiterated his view that any final proposal must be beneficial to Devon.”
In the webcast he is a lot more outspoken…
Council – Thu, 12th May 2016 – 2:15 pm – Devon County Council Webcasting
Indeed Councillor Hart is scathing about current devolution deals – he calls them “an absolute shambles”, says he can see nothing good in current deals that ALL require a Mayor to release money (around £30 million) which is guaranteed only for 5 years [though documents are drafted for 30 years].
He said he had three times asked for a meeting with the Minister and only after doing TV interviews about his concerns, was he telephoned by one of the Minister’s Special Advisers ( who was, he said, probably about 25 and with two degrees and nothing else) offered a 15 minute meeting in London. He refused it and said he would not make the journey for less than a 30 minute meeting.
He did a good resume of devolution deal fiascos from Derbyshire to Bristol via East Anglia, all of them falling at hurdles that Owl, and many others, had seen coming as soon as we learned what was going on.
He mentioned business rates – the raising of which was another carrot being dangled at LEPs, but pointed out they could only be raised by a maximum 2p in the pound and only if the business community agreed.
It seems Councillor Hart will proceed no further without much more assurance about what’s in it for Devon.
One glaring omission from his statement was public engagement, which he did not mention at all.
Let’s hope he cannot be bought off by “weasel words”.
Unlike our own council leader who, given responsibility for housing (i.e developers) couldn’t sign us away quick enough.
DCC Leader has second (and third) thoughts about devolution | East Devon Watch