The Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council are negotiating a deal with government to secure extra powers and funding for the Solent area. The deal would give the region £900 million over the next 30 years to improve infrastructure, transport and housing, and provide training and skills and support for business.
In their Solent Deal consultation, the three councils and the Solent LEP propose creating a new mayoral combined authority for the region. The aim is to improve economic prosperity by bringing decision-making and accountability closer to local people.
In this response, ICE South East England highlight how the recommendations of the State of the Nation: Devolution Report can be applied to the Solent area, setting out how the region can best improve infrastructure delivery and management.
The consultation response highlights the opportunity to take a systems-based approach to infrastructure, to develop skills in the region and the need to promote the role of digital infrastructure. By doing so, the area can ensure high economic growth, productivity and skilled employment.
Although ICE South East England believes that 'no one size fits all' for devolution deals, ICE South East England agree that Option 4 – the preferred option of the three councils and one LEP – does seem to offer the best opportunity for the region. It is crucial that whatever governance arrangements are made however, there are the structures for clear leadership and accountability.
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