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.

The agreement stresses that there is no intention for the new authority to take existing powers from local authorities.

County, district and borough councils will continue to exist. The combined authority and its mayor will be responsible for the powers which are being devolved from Whitehall.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Eastern Powerhouse plan is being backed by Chancellor George Osborne

These are transport, strategic planning and skills training. There is also a hint that at some stage health and social care may be added to the list.

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?

Regional theatre beats the West End

  • 8 January 2016
  • From the section England

No sooner had the curtain gone up on the new year's debates in Westminster Hall than Will Quince seized the day to make an impassioned plea for support for our regional theatres.

He argued that you can only have a vibrant West End if you've got a strong regional base developing the talent and he sees no reason why so much more arts funding goes into London per head of population than it does to the regions.

Read full article Regional theatre beats the West End