Surrey submits devolution proposal

Surrey council have submitted a bid to the government for devolution, in an attempt to get more control over education, transport, housing and business policies.

The county is one of 38 around the UK to apply for increased powers. Surrey submitted their bid to Communities Secretary Greg Clark alongside the councils for East and West Sussex.

A number of ‘devolution offers’ were included in the bid, with the Council looking to take on more powers in order to manage the economic growth in the area, help control pressures on school place and manage road and rail infrastructure.

The letter was co-signed by Surrey County Council leader David Hodge, West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith and East Sussex leader Keith Glazer.

Within the bid, the trio stated:

‘Together we can ensure that the right decisions are made in the right places to guarantee that the current contribution to our nation’s success and finances is not only continued but also expanded to the full potential it can reach. Our three counties are special places with a strong sense of identity and place.’

‘They are achieving the delicate and fundamental challenge of balancing strong growth and preserving a beautiful environment.’

‘However, their ability to sustain that crucial balance needs us all to work differently’

Similar devolution plans were made in Greater Manchester last year, with the government looking to hand more power and greater control to individual councils.

Mr Clark noted that the number of applications shows an obvious appetite for local councils to be more involved in directly governing their local areas.

Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

‘The best businesses would never shy away from allowing their customers to shape the way they improve their services.’

‘If we are bold enough, government can go one better by actually putting many of those services in the hands of local people. It is also a proven reality that money spent closer to people is often money spent wiser – so we can really deliver more for less.’