Winchester Leader attends Westminster devolution event

Winchester City Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Godfrey, joined fellow council leaders and MPs at a parliamentary reception in Westminster to highlight Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s devolution bid.

Cllr Godfrey said:

I was pleased to make the journey to Westminster with most of my fellow Leaders and lead officers.

We received a very positive reception from our parliamentary representatives to our explanation of the impact that our devolution proposals will have for Winchester and for Hampshire.

The event, sponsored by North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena, was an opportunity for MPs to hear more about the ambitious plans and speak to the partners involved.

Despite a full parliamentary schedule, 11 of the area’s 19 MPs attended the two-hour event on 14 December where they met Leaders and chief executives from the partners as well as representatives from the emergency services and business community. Further backing and support has been expressed by other MPs who could not make the date due to diary pressures.

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight's devolution proposals are set out in a prospectus submitted to central government on behalf of 15 councils, two local enterprise partnerships and two national park authorities. The bid has also received the support of Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service.

Should the proposals be successful, the ambitious nature of the devolution deal and number of partners involved mean it could become a blueprint for cities and regions across the country to follow.

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight's proposals focus around four key themes: boosting business and skills for work; accelerating housing delivery; investing in infrastructure; and transforming public services.

Within these themes, projects will deliver on the government’s productivity plan and rural productivity plan and ensure: more homes are built; more efficient local planning; further expansion of broadband; better mobile connectivity; improved transport connections; a more highly-skilled workforce with employers setting the skills agenda locally; higher employment and better wages.