We conducted research to find out what members of the public thought about devolution for Norfolk and Suffolk. We took responses from over 10, 000 businesses and residents. We accepted responses through emails and leaflets, online surveys, telephone surveys, and more. We submitted the findings to the Secretary of State to help in the process of making decisions.
Ipsos-Mori conducted a survey that involved more than 6,000 people across Norfolk and Suffolk. He asked for views from 250 businesses from the two counties. He also used an online survey to increase his reach. Since the online survey only involved people that wanted to give their views, it is not right to assume that it represents the views of the whole society. We provided information about the consultation on our website all through the consultation period.
To summarise it, 53% of the population were in support of devolution. One of the leading reasons for their support is that they feel that decisions which affect the local people should not be left to the central government. Most of them feel that a devolved government will help to address their problems such as road maintenance issues. 58% of them fee that the councils should come together to form the common authority. 52% support the mayoral position. Both small and big businesses in the areas support devolution. Most of them feel that the combined authority will invest in educating young people to get into various businesses.
In the consultation, we tried to establish the most reliable ways to deliver economic growth and positive reforms in the public sector. One of the reviews for governance stated that there would be a mayor to help deliver the best outcome. From our findings, we put together proposals for how the region can take advantage of the mayoral position to foster development and growth. We asked the local organisations, businesses, and people their opinions on the appropriate scheme of governance and sent their responses to the Secretary of State. We expect that they will use the information along with feedback from other sources to make the best decisions.
Devolution is to offer Norfolk and Suffolk more than just government independence. It will provide financial independence as well. If the deal is successful, the region may have control of 750million pounds. The funds can help in the creation of more jobs, new housing arrangements, and more. Some of it can go towards the coordination of emergency service. It may also be sued in the development of a transportation plan for Norfolk and Suffolk It may involve the development of road and rail services. The region can channel; some of that money into education. The development of training centers helps to empower the youth and help them make the right entrepreneurial decisions which are great for the economy. It will ensure that various industries have the right professionals for their jobs.
Devolution would mean that Norfolk and Suffolk have to find a combined authority. Councils would have to come together whenever there is a need to make important decisions that affect the entire region. The combined authority would have to include elected members from both councils. It would also require someone to represent the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to bring a business perspective. It would, however, not replace any of the existing councils.
The mayoral position would be filled after elections that involve members of all residents in the Combined Authority area.
From the leaflets that we sent to various households across the region, we received 1,650 responses. We also received 112 letters and emails. We used the feedback to come up with an analysis of the themes that we got from comments.