Tory leader calls for support for Hampshire and Isle of Wight devolution bid

Iain Duncan Smith speaking during a visit to Portsmouth

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DEVOLUTION and a combined authority will add £3bn to the county’s economy, according to Hampshire council’s leader Roy Perry.

The Tory politician made the comments during a speech at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday.

Cllr Perry said he had written to the Chancellor encouraging him to support the current Hampshire and Isle of Wight bid for devolved powers.

He said: ‘Whilst we applaud the Scots and Welsh and the core cities of the north for gaining more control over their own affairs, we know we too have experience and capacity and could achieve so much more if we had more responsibility over our own affairs.

‘Frankly it’s not just the Scots and Welsh who can be trusted with devolution. The English can also be trusted to do more for themselves.’

He said that Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s population is approximately 2m and that it has an overall economy worth almost £50bn.

Cllr Perry said the proposal had the support of the county council, the three unitaries of Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, 11 district councils, two LEPs, two national parks, plus police, fire and NHS Wessex.

He said: ‘We don’t always agree on everything but on this we do – we are up for it.’