LETTER: Can a mayor look after all residents of both counties?

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The devolution plans for North Midlands that have been published recently will involve a big shift of power from our existing councils at all levels across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to an executive mayor for all of both counties.
From councils where residents have some democratic oversight to a single person with no independent elected oversight.

The pros are said to be less than 60,000 possible (note, not definite) jobs and less than 80,000 new homes over the two counties, less than £1 billion over 30 years in a new investment fund and a responsibility for a few budgets currently controlled by central Government, again all to be spread over all of the two counties, including both cities.

Already many in the more remote parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire feel largely ignored by their county council. Will an executive mayor for all of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, with both cities areas to look after as well, be more likely to look after the interests of those in the High Peak’s district or in Bassetlaw? How will these areas be able to hold an executive mayor based somewhere near Derby or Nottingham to account?

With the executive mayor also taking over the role of PCC for both counties’ police forces and also the role of the fire authorities, will those in the outlying areas see even more of their local police and fire service diverted away to the larger conurbations in the south of the North Midlands area?

This proposed attempt at what is laughingly being called devolution has nothing good for the people of Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire in it and we hope that our elected representatives in district, borough, city and county councils across both counties stand up and vote not to take part in the proposed north midlands combined authority.

Leon Duveen

Chairman Nottinghamshire Liberal Democrats

Tony Rogers

Chairman Derbyshire Liberal Democrats