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Mayor’s former chief of staff questions government over future of Greater Cambridge Partnership

The government has no plans to abolish the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) it said in response to the mayor’s former chief of staff and political adviser.

House of Commons (29627625)
House of Commons (29627625)

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt asked the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local whether he had plans to abolish the GCP and transfer its functions and funding to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Mr Hunt was previously chief of staff to mayor James Palmer before being elected a Conservative MP in December.

Secretary of State Simon Clarke MP responded: “Government has no plans to abolish the Greater Cambridge City Deal. The Greater Cambridge City Deal Investment Funds are subject to a five-yearly Gateway Review process. We are currently undertaking this review with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and expect to conclude it by the end of the financial year.

“If the local area wants to propose changes to governance arrangements, they should bring forward proposals, agreed by all the signatories, and my officials could consult with the relevant departments to consider government’s response.”

Mr Hunt also asked: “What plans the government has to create an East Anglian mayor and combined authority to cover Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.”

Mr Clarke said: “The government wants to see more devolution across the country, and we welcome locally backed proposals. The English Devolution White Paper will provide further information on our plans for full devolution across England, increasing the number of mayors and doing more devolution deals.”

When asked if he knew about the MP’s question, Mr Palmer said he had no prior knowledge of it.

“I have seen the answer and the question since but it wasn’t something I was aware of in advance,” he told the Cambridge Independent.

And whether the latest announcement to halt the GCP’s Cambridge to Cambourne scheme was part of a move to get rid of the GCP, Mr Palmer responded: “It’s not my decision, it’s one for the government. The government will have to look at it and see if in five years of the GCP it is easier and simpler to move around Cambridge.”

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