Council says new devolved powers mark 'significant milestone' - The Rugby Observer

Council says new devolved powers mark 'significant milestone'

Rugby Editorial 23rd Mar, 2024   0

NEW powers to help boost the local economy have been given to Warwickshire County Council.

The authority has become one of three in the UK to be awarded a new Devolution Deal.

WCC now has control of a £7.6million Adult Education Budget – meaning it can work with businesses on a local plan to tailor skills and learning to business needs.

The deal, which could come into being as early as April 2025, also gives the council responsibility for spending a £10million UK Shared Prosperity Fund on communities, supporting businesses, and developing people and skills.

The council’s cabinet has also voted to participate in the West Midlands Investment Zone – including the Coventry and Warwickshire Gigapark on the Coventry Airport site, which is expected to create over 9,000 jobs and generate economic growth of around £2billion.

The council says the WMIZ will offer tax incentives for businesses, and means business rates can be used to invest in the advanced manufacturing sector.

WCC leader Coun Izzi Seccombe said: “The Devolution Deal and Investment Zone represent a significant long-term milestone for the county. They show we are worth additional resources and powers to drive economic growth, jobs and skills.

“The Devolution Deal provides a strong foundation on which to secure further powers and resources.

“The Investment Zone brings thousands of new jobs, £2billion of economic growth, £180million of government investment, and reinvestment into the advanced manufacturing sector.

“It will be a massive boost for the local and sub-regional economy. But it will also be a great lift for employment. We expect residents across the whole county to benefit from it.”

Coun Sarah Feeney, speaking on behalf of WCC’s Labour Group was equally pleased.

She said: “We see a great opportunity to grow a skills agenda across the county, but this can only happen with closer working between districts or boroughs and the county council.

“We are determined to ensure we are at the forefront of developments. We cannot afford to miss out on these opportunities, and it will require hard work and cooperation to a far greater degree than currently happens.”

And Liberal Democrat Group leader Coun Jerry Roodhouse added there was hard work ahead for the authority.

“We welcome devolution and look forward to ensuring a better local service can be provided.

“We need to remember that this is not new money and will place extra strains on the county support services. We will work hard to make it work for local residents.”

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