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Dragon Interview: The ‘County Deal’ – What Does it Offer Surrey?

Published on: 28 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 29 Sep, 2021

By Martin Giles

A “County Deal” for Surrey would see “powers, freedoms and flexibilities devolved” from central government to our county council. So says the introduction to the draft proposal recently circulated to county councillors.

See also: Leaked Document Shows County Council Plan to Take More Power

It is in response to an invitation put out by the Prime Minister in July under his “levelling up” policy, but it is clear that the government favours implementation through further empowered elected mayors rather than more traditional county councils. This almost certainly limits the chance of success for the SCC proposal but explains why the “strong leader” model has been emphasised.

Coming in the wake of Cllr Tim Oliver’s aborted attempt, last year, to create a unitary authority for the whole of Surrey, the proposal is predictably making some opposition councillors suspicious. Some see it as another power grab attempt.

The Dragon invited Surrey’s Council leader and two senior opposition councillors to debate some of the issues the proposal raises…

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