County alliance will bring money and ‘clout’ to Derbyshire

Councillor Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council.
Councillor Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council.

Derbyshire County Council is set to vote through plans to form a ‘strategic alliance’ with several county and city councils from across the East Midlands.

This could see the authorities sharing services across borders in a bid to save money.

At full council on Wednesday, September 12, as we went to press, council leader Councillor Barry Lewis asked that plans to push forward with the alliance are given the go-ahead.

It would see Derbyshire County Council; Derby City Council; Nottinghamshire County Council; Nottingham City Council; Leicestershire County Council; Leicester City Council; and Lincolnshire County Council join forces.

The strategic alliance would not be a formal merger, but an agreement between the councils to work together more closely. It is thought that the crux of improvements would focus on highways and infrastructure.

The plan, first mooted in April, could lead to devolved powers from central government to give the alliance more authority over how money is spent in the region.

It is hoped that the alliance will help match the “weight and clout” of the West Midlands Combined Authority – formed last May – but stops short of forming its own East Midlands version, and again, short of merging into a “super council”.

Coun Lewis said: “Across the East Midlands, councils of all sizes and scales are facing significant ongoing budget pressures and recognise there is a need to work together to find solutions to ensure we deliver services for the public benefit on a more efficient footprint. Upper tier councils, including cities, have been exploring the idea of a strategic alliance, which has the potential to deliver savings, transform services, deliver jobs and growth and therefore business rates uplift, and most critically ensure that our collective and single voice is powerful to call for more investment across the region.”