Leaders from across Surrey, East and West Sussex met on Monday the 19th September to take forward the 3SC proposals for devolution, making significant progress in next steps for the area’s bid.
There was unanimous agreement to move to a more formal structure of a Leader’s Board. Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex, was elected Chairman with two Vice Chairmen – Moira Gibson, Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council, and Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council. This board will agree and define the aims and ambitions of the 3SC deal and act as a strong and united voice for the area, ensuring the three counties’ interests are fully represented with Government, acting on behalf of the wider group of Leaders. The Leaders’ Board will be in place until there is an announcement of the deal.
One of the first actions the board agreed was a joint response to Government on the retention of business rates to emphasise the opportunity to support wider devolution plans if it is done in the right way and also to seek assurances that as a minimum the 3SC area would be no worse off.
The board also agreed a broad approach for the next stages of the negotiations with Government and that activity will continue to promote the unique position of the 3SC deal in helping support the economic growth of the UK.
The main factors that make 3SC unique are:
1) The economic opportunity for the UK provided by the 3SC region
2) Significant investment from the local authorities within the 3SC deal;
3) Strength of relationships across the 3SC region.
A key feature of the proposed 3SC deal is the tax dividend it will provide to Government from growth. We are asking for a small percentage of this to be invested in the 3SC area, particularly to improve infrastructure on which residents and businesses depend.
Another focus for the Leaders’ Board is to continue to raise awareness and understanding and promote the 3SC position on devolution among all Members, MPs and local businesses – with our Local Enterprise Partnerships playing a key role – in particular emphasising the key elements that make the deal unique. The next steps include raising the awareness during the party conference season, Ministerial meetings and more proactive engagement with business around economic development