The Hampshire and Isle of Wight proposals

Source: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership (2015). Devolution for the People of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight: A Prospectus for discussion with Government.

Summary of page

  • The 15 Councils, 2 Local Enterprise Partnerships and 2 National Park authorities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (HIOW) have submitted a prospectus for devolution to the government for its consideration.
  • The Prospectus proposes a range of powers and responsibilities to be devolved to HIOW in areas such as business and skills; housing delivery; infrastructure investment; and public service transformation.
  • The Prospectus makes no commitment to how HIOW area would be governed.

In September 2015 the Hampshire and Isle of Wight (HIOW) partnership (15 Councils, two National Park Authorities and two Local Enterprise Partnerships) submitted its proposal for devolving powers and spending to the region, Devolution for the People of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight: A Prospectus for discussion with Government. These proposals will be taken into account by the government in its autumn 2015 Spending Review and are the starting point for negotiation between the partnership and government over a final devolution deal for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

3.1 Devolution of which powers?

The HIOW devolution prospectus is organised around four themes: business and skills; housing delivery; infrastructure investment; and public service transformation. HIOW is the largest ‘county area’ economy in the UK, close in scale to Wales and to Greater Manchester.

Some of the specific proposals for the transfer of powers and responsibilities to the region in the prospectus include:

  • HIOW local authorities will forego their Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and other Government grants in exchange for the retention of 100% business rates generated within the HIOW area;
  • All business support programmes and associated resources;
  • Adult skills funding and provision;
  • Apprenticeships funding;
  • First call for HIOW on released public sector land, and realistic asset valuations
  • Green belt planning powers;
  • Statutory area-­‐wide Strategic Infrastructure Delivery Plan to which all infrastructure providers must contribute;
  • 10-­‐year HIOW Transport Investment Fund to support economic growth and housing development;
  • Pooling of local expertise and capacity to support integrated management of HIOW’s road network;
  • Extension of the Superfast Cities (broadband) programme in Southampton and Portsmouth across the whole HIOW area.

The Prospectus also asks central government commitment to:

  • Explore devolution of responsibility to HIOW to commission and deliver the Work
    Programme (or its successor);
  • Infrastructure support, some amendments to planning regulations, supporting additional capacity in planning services and facilitating engagement by statutory bodies to enable accelerated housing delivery.

3.2 Governance and public consultation

It is not yet known whether the devolution of powers to the region will include a directly elected mayor and/or executive. In its prospectus, the HIOW partnership commits to:

undertake a full governance review, exploring all options including a Combined Authority with a directly elected mayor as well as other forms of democratic governance, such as committee governance and executive arrangements, to determine the most appropriate, robust and cost-­effective governance solution for the HIOW area.

It also has stated:

We are committed to engaging the public and all relevant local partners in our governance review, including our eight Clinical Commissioning Groups and wider health partners, Hampshire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Fire and Rescue services, parish and town councils and the voluntary and community sector. Should our proposals be agreed as part of Spending Review 2015 we would expect to conduct a full public consultation in the spring of 2016.

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