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Government money in the bag for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambs alliance

This week’s budget has seen money set aside for Norfolk to join two other counties and take powers from central government in a three-way devolution.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the cash on Wednesday and the money could see West Norfolk residents voting for a new mayor of all three counties.

Whoever wins the votes would be in charge of a multi-million budget covering transport links  and house-building.

The move has been ‘cautiously welcomed’ by North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham.

“While the idea of a single, powerful East Anglian combined authority, headed-up by a newly-elected mayor and with almost £1 billion of investment could be positive news. I am urgently seeking clarification that this really is new money and that it will not mean the removal of functions away from King’s Lynn and West Norfolk,” he said.

If the plans go ahead, the new combined authority would also have power over planning and housing.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said she welcomed the news which, she said, was ‘great news for industry and residents/’

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “I am delighted the new devolution deal will give a strong voice to Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. This is the first ever arrangement for a rural area and demonstrates that the eastern region is a powerhouse of innovation and enterprise.

“The announcement really is great news for industry, jobs, our local economy and residents,” she said.

Wednesday’s announcement said there would be a budget of £900m, £30m a year for the next 30 years, for road and rail projects within the three counties.

A further £175m will be on the table for new houses.

All the councils in the three counties, with the exception of Cambridge City (which is still negotiating) have signed-up for the deal.

There will be a period of public consultation before the scheme moves forward and councillors will have the chance to vote.

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