Fiefdoms are operating across Norfolk, MP says in call for elected mayor

Norman Lamb MP Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Norman Lamb MP Steve Parsons/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Fiefdoms are operating across Norfolk with people unwilling to give up their little bit of power, North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has claimed as he called for a shake up of local government. The Liberal Democrat MP said he wanted to see a Norfolk unitary council with local committees as he renewed calls for a local devolution deal amid concerns Norfolk is being left behind.

Mayoral elections will be held across the country on May 4, including in Cambridgeshire where council leaders struck a deal with the Treasury worth millions of pounds.

A similar deal for Norfolk and Suffolk faltered last year after a majority of Norfolk district councils rejected the proposals.

Speaking on BBC Sunday Politics East, South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said Norfolk was missing out on devolution, but he thought it would come.

He said he had supported recent plans for an elected mayor even though they had not been perfect.


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He also raised the prospect of local government reorganisation to replace what he described as a 'top heavy' two tier system with 414 councillors at district and county level.

'I think we need something leaner and faster and more responsive that can make decisions better and be more responsive to people on the ground,' he said.

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Mr Bacon said he wanted to see powerful county committees with more ability to make decisions.

Mr Lamb said that having eight councils in Norfolk running local services was 'way over the top' and 'massively wasteful of public resources'.

Questioned by Look East presenter Stewart White about whether there were fiefdoms standing in the way of change, Mr Lamb said: 'There are definitely fiefdoms across Norfolk who don't want to give up on their little bit of power.'

He also said that Britain was the most centralised of any western country and resources should be raised locally.

Mr Lamb said there should be a unitary council which did everything in a locality.

He also backed strong devolved power to local committees across the county.

'There is a strong Norfolk identity. A unitary council which did everything in a locality with strong devolved power to local committees across Norfolk would improve things dramatically,' he said.

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