Alternative East Anglian devolution deal proposed

The devolution agreement
Image caption The agreement recognises the importance of places like the Cambridge business sector, the Norwich Research Park and University Campus Suffolk

The battle for devolution in East Anglia has taken another turn, with council leaders in Cambridgeshire writing to the government to propose an alternative deal.

We understand that under the so-called "brother and sister" deal, local authorities in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk would agree to work more closely together. But instead of a combined authority and a mayor covering the three counties - there would be two: one for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and one for Norfolk and Suffolk.

Those behind the proposal tell us that having two separate authorities would take the heat out of the concerns about an East Anglian mayor.

They say it would be more manageable to deliver savings within local government and argue the move would double the size of Cambridgeshire's economy over the next 25 years.

But the suggestion has not been well received by supporters of East Anglian devolution in Norfolk, who insist that "the deal on the table is the deal on the table".

Read full article Alternative East Anglian devolution deal proposed

Details of East Anglian devolution revealed

The devolution agreement
Image caption The agreement recognises the importance of places like the Cambridge business sector, the Norwich research park and University Campus Suffolk

We're starting to get an idea about what East Anglian devolution will look like.

The devolution agreement, published by the treasury and signed by 22 of the 23 council leaders in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, outlines how the new combined authority will work and the powers of the new directly elected mayor.

Read full article Details of East Anglian devolution revealed

Merger plans to create largest council

  • 16 March 2016
  • From the section Suffolk
Riverside Waveney District Council
Image caption Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district councils will elect a new set of councillors if they merge

There are big changes underway in local Government. In the week the first details of East Anglian devolution emerged, two of our councils took the first steps towards completely merging to create the largest district council in the country.

If Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district councils pull it off, the new East Suffolk Council will stretch from Felixstowe to Lowestoft, elect a new set of councillors and serve a quarter of a million people.

Read full article Merger plans to create largest council

Learner drivers should take first aid course, says Will Quince MP

  • 9 March 2016
  • From the section Essex
Driving instructor in 1935 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The first driving test in the UK was in 1935, when this photo of a learner driver was taken

It was 81 years ago when Ronald Beere, of Kensington Hall Gardens, London, became the first person to pass a driving test in the UK. Since then, almost 50 million tests have been taken, and over that time a lot has changed.

For a start there's the cost: Mr Beere paid just 7/6d, around £50 in today's money, but would-be motorists have to find £85 these days.

Read full article Learner drivers should take first aid course, says Will Quince MP

EU referendum campaign kicks off in the East

  • 4 March 2016
  • From the section England
David Cameron at University Campus Suffolk
Image caption David Cameron visited University Campus Suffolk to make the case for remaining in the EU

With the date now set for the EU referendum, the remain campaign hasn't wasted time outlining its case to people in the East of England.

In the course of a few days there have been high profile interventions from the Prime Minister, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, a universities minister and a representative from the European Commission. In special visits to the region they outlined in detail why they believed we were better off in than out.

Read full article EU referendum campaign kicks off in the East

East Anglian devolution supporters lobbying local business leaders

  • 12 February 2016
  • From the section England
Punting, Cambridge Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption George Freeman, North Norfolk MP, called Cambridge "a global growth city and yet within 40 minutes we've got pockets of real deprivation"

The campaign for devolution for East Anglia has suddenly stepped up a gear.

The Mid Norfolk MP and government minister George Freeman has taken the highly unusual, some are saying dramatic, step of writing to business leaders in Cambridgeshire appealing to them to lobby the county council there to join the Norfolk/Suffolk bid.

Read full article East Anglian devolution supporters lobbying local business leaders

More cash for East's rural councils after government U-turn

  • 9 February 2016
  • From the section England
Demo at Norfolk County Council
Image caption Disability campaigners protest against Norfolk council cuts as the government gives the authority an extra £7.7m

It's not often that the government appears to listen, think again and then dig a little deeper into its pockets - but the announcement over council funding appears to be example of just that.

When this year's local government spending settlement was first announced back in December there was an outcry.

Read full article More cash for East's rural councils after government U-turn

Fixing rural broadband 'not spots'

  • 5 February 2016
  • From the section England
Man using laptop in a field Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Many broadband users in rural areas are said to be "struggling with very low capacity"

Did the government and our local councils get it wrong when they drew up their plans for the roll out of broadband across the region?

That was the question left hanging in the air after an independent broadband provider from Norfolk gave evidence to MPs at Westminster this week.

Read full article Fixing rural broadband 'not spots'

Lord Hanningfield's prison campaign

  • 22 January 2016
  • From the section England
Lord Hanningield Image copyright PA

For the last four years Lord Hanningfield has kept a rather low profile at Westminster, perhaps not surprising for someone who has been convicted of fraud and banned from the House of Lords for a year.

Now he's told friends that he wants to champion causes close to his heart and he seems to have found one.

Read full article Lord Hanningfield's prison campaign

Longer hours for Sunday trading?

  • 12 January 2016
  • From the section England
Crowds of shoppers Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ministers set to argue longer Sunday trading could save struggling high streets

Could we be shopping for longer on a Sunday by the end of this year?

We understand the government is preparing to push ahead with plans to relax the Sunday trading laws, even though it was facing almost certain defeat in parliament over the issue just a few months ago.

Read full article Longer hours for Sunday trading?