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Hampshire and Isle of Wight submit devolution prospectus


A bid to retain all business rates is key to Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s devolution bid.

The prospectus, submitted on Friday 4 September, outlines how 15 councils, two local enterprise partnerships and two park authorities have come together to secure a devolution deal for the region.

The partnership includes:

Hampshire County Council

Isle of Wight Council

Portsmouth City Council

Southampton City Council

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council

East Hants District Council

Eastleigh Borough Council

Fareham Borough Council

Gosport Borough Council

Hart District Council

Havant Borough Council

New Forest District Council

Rushmoor Borough Council

Test Valley Borough Council

Winchester City Council Enterprise

M3 Local Enterprise Partnership

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership

New Forest National Park Authority

South Downs National Park Authority

The document asks that the bodies should be able to keep 100 per cent of business rates in return for forgoing Revenue Support Grants from central government. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s dependency on money from the government would therefore reduce and the region would be responsible for increasing business in the region.

The proposals focus on four key themes: boosting business and skills for work; accelerating housing delivery; investing in infrastructure; and transforming public services.

The themes, said Hampshire County Council, aim to deliver on the government’s productivity plan and rural productivity plan, ensuring that more homes are built; local planning is more efficient, and that transport connections are improved.

Housing plans include accelerated delivery of existing local plans and an additional 500 homes a year in the priority home categories of rural affordable, low-cost starter, council new-build and extra care, by making use of exception sites such as redundant public land. It isn’t known yet what form the devolved arrangement would take, but in a statement on Hampshire County Council’s website, it said rather than creating a new layer of government, “the aim is to bring existing decision-making powers from Whitehall down to a local level”.

The partners will also work to extend devolution locally to district and parish councils.