Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Councillor J. Kent, Leader of the Council, introduced the report which set out the progress being made in discussions involving the Council on devolution and combined authorities and the latest position with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.
In introducing the report he questioned whether Thurrock’s best interests were being served under the current arrangements or whether it would be more beneficial to form a partnership with South Essex authorities instead. Concerns were also raised in the fact that there was no vice-chair position for the federated area of South Essex.
Councillor B. Rice questioned the benefits to Thurrock under the current arrangements, to which it was explained the mechanism of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership divided up Business Rates and could negotiate a greater say on matters such as skills and training and job centre plus.
Members debated whether Thurrock would be best served by the current arrangement of if a new partnership should be formed with Southend Borough Council or both Southend and Basildon Council’s.
During the debate Members felt that a separation with Essex County Council would best serve Thurrock’s interests and that a partnership with Southend and Basildon would be more appropriate given the natural similarities between the Boroughs, as Thurrock had little in common with some North Essex authorities.
In light of the debate Councillor J. Kent proposed an amendment to recommendation 1.1, which read as follows:
“That Cabinet confirms its commitment to pursuing a devolution deal with Government and to continue to work with partners across South Essex and Greater Essex, whilst continuing to explore whether Thurrock’s best interests can be served through a Greater South Essex Combined Authority.”
Members voted unanimously in favour of the recommendations, including the proposed amendment at 1.1, whereupon the Chair declared these to be carried.
1. Confirms its commitment to pursuing a devolution deal with Government and to continue to work with partners across South Essex and Greater Essex, whilst continuing to explore whether Thurrock’s best interests can be served through a Greater South Essex Combined Authority.
2. Agrees that a devolution deal must be underpinned by a business case that demonstrates benefits for Thurrock, that could not otherwise be achieved, which have the support of local businesses and are underpinned by a governance framework that localises decision-making.
3. Strongly supports the creation of a SELEP vice chair position for the federated area of South Essex.
4. Notes that Thurrock Council has signed the SELEP Joint Committee Agreement.
Reason for Decision - as stated in the report
This decision is subject to call-in
Report author: Matthew Essex
Publication date: 16/10/2015
Date of decision: 14/10/2015
Decided at meeting: 14/10/2015 - Cabinet
Effective from: 24/10/2015