Devolution poll results show support for greater local decision making in Suffolk

Published

The results of a Suffolk-wide resident poll on devolution show that 3 out of 5 people support the idea of giving more decision making powers to East Anglia.

As part of an independent poll carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Suffolk County Council and all other public sector leaders in Suffolk, over 60% of people who took part support the idea of devolving powers of decision making to a more local level.

The poll surveyed 1,820 people by phone across the county between 20 May and 30 May 2016, with people selected on a random basis. Around 260 people were called in each borough and district area to ensure consistent coverage. The poll reflected age, gender, and work status to ensure demographic coverage and representation.   

Resident feedback showed that there was strong sense of belonging for the local area (84%) and Suffolk (85%), with 82% feeling a sense of belonging to East Anglia. 

A quarter of residents know a lot about the devolution proposals (25%) but 23% of residents said they have never heard of the proposals. 

The feedback demonstrates that there is still more to be done to help people understand the details of the devolution deal. Within the deal itself, the main areas of interest and importance for residents are long term economic growth (93%), greater control over transport (90%) and delivering health services (89%).  

Leader of Suffolk County Council, Cllr Colin Noble said:

“The feedback we are getting from this poll is very positive. It gives us something promising to build on as discussions and plans continue to develop with the overall devolution process.

"What is clear is that we need to do more to explain the details and the benefits within the deal that’s on the table, and this consultation work is happening across our communities in Suffolk over coming weeks and months. We have a tight timetable for devolution and all leaders in Suffolk are committed to seeking the views of residents in their respective areas. 

“People are clearly interested in how devolution can deliver long term economic growth and improvements to transport and health within Suffolk and their community.

"Whilst the deal on the table for Suffolk and Norfolk offers tangible benefits for each of these aspects, I believe that the new opportunity for the proposed Mayor and Combined Authority must seek to deliver real savings in local government, far beyond the coats of their creation; offering efficiency across the entire system to protect front line services that local people rely on, building on the partnership working that already takes place and offering residents the quality of service they expect, regardless of the particular authority responsible for delivery.” 

The two prospective deals for East Anglia devolution were published at the end of last week and Suffolk County Council will discuss and debate the Norfolk and Suffolk deal at our Council meeting next week. 

Proposed devolution deals for East Anglia provide details on delivering £300m over five years for housing and £45m a year (for 30 years) to increase jobs, provide better infrastructure and drive growth in local businesses and the economy.  

Negotiations with government have seen the funding on offer increase from what was in the original deal published in March 2016 - £175m for housing and £30m a year for infrastructure.

All councils and both LEPs will debate the matter before the end of June. If all councils and LEPs endorse the deal and the associated governance scheme relevant to them, public consultation will take place during July and August.