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Mayor of the East Midlands

On 2 May 2024, voters elected Claire Ward as Mayor of the East Midlands.

The main Market Square in Nottingham, with Nottingham Council House building behind.
Council House in Nottingham. The EMCA was established as a legal entity in February 2024 and brings together four upper-tier local authorities: Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire county councils, and Derby and Nottingham city councils.

On 2 May 2024, Claire Ward was elected mayor of the East Midlands, winning a total of 40% of the vote. Ward leads the new East Midlands Combined County Authority (EMCCA) that encompasses Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, Derbyshire and Derby. 

This is the first combined county authority (CCA) – a new legal entity made possible by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023. Unlike previously established mayoral combined authorities, a CCA can be agreed in two-tier local government areas without the consent of district councils within the counties in question.

What was the result of the 2024 East Midlands mayoral election?

Claire Ward was the winner of the May 2024 East Midlands mayoral election. She represents the Labour Party and is a former Watford MP and current chair of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust, and has lived in Nottinghamshire for over a decade. 57 Weakley K, ‘Labour picks former MP as East Midlands mayor candidate’, Local Government Chronicle, 17 June 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.lgcplus.com/politics/devolution-and-economic-growth/labour-picks-former-mp-as-east-midlands-mayor-candidate-04-08-2023

Ward’s highest share of the vote was 51% in Nottingham, and her lowest was 38% in Derbyshire. 

The turnout across the region was 28%. Turnout for past metro mayor elections has varied between 21% (Tees Valley 2017) and 36% (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 2021).

The Conservative candidate was Ben Bradley, who is also leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and MP for Mansfield. 58 Parke C, ‘Tory MP and former Labour minister confirmed as East Midlands mayoral candidates’, The Standard, 18 September 2023, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/ben-bradley-east-midlands-labour-mansfield-nottinghamshire-county-council-b1107662.html  He secured 29% of the vote. 

Other unsuccessful candidates included Alan Graves (Reform), 59 Waller J, Derby mayor wants to be East Midlands mayor – so he can abolish position, Chad, 21 January 2024, www.chad.co.uk/news/politics/derby-mayor-wants-to-be-east-midlands-mayor-so-he-can-abolish-position-4486941  Frank Adlington-Stringer (Green), 60 Locker J, Green Party candidate for East Midlands mayor pledges to represent communities ‘as honestly as possible’, Notss TV, 12 February 2024, nottstv.com/green-party-candidate-for-east-midlands-mayor-pledges-to-represent-communities-as-honestly-as-possible/  Helen Tamblyn-Saville (Liberal Democrats) and Matthew Relf (independent). 61 https://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/news/politics/ex-dragons-den-star-joins-election-race-as-derbyshire-police-investigate-previous-campaign-4536031 https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/candidates-dont-know-what-east-9081362

Candidates had to receive signatures supporting their nomination from 100 electors, including 10 from each constituent council, and pay a deposit of £5,000. 62 Electoral Commission, Combined authority mayoral elections in England, no date, retrieved 4 August 2023, www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/candidate-or-agent/combined-authority-mayoral-elections-england  Deposits are refunded to candidates that receive 5% or more of the vote.

What is the East of Midlands Mayoral Combined County Authority?

The combined authority was established as a legal entity in February 2024 and brings together four upper-tier local authorities: Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire county councils, and Derby and Nottingham city councils. The leaders of these four councils concluded a devolution deal with ministers in August 2022. 72 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal  Leicester city and Leicestershire county councils were initially envisaged as joining the EMCCA, but declined to join and instead sought a separate devolution deal, which is yet to be concluded. 73 Hill J, ‘Exclusive: County devo talks descend into ‘dog’s breakfast’ Local Government Chronicle, 17 June 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.lgcplus.com/politics/devolution-and-economic-growth/exclusive-county-devo-talks-descend-into-dogs-breakfast-17-06-2022/

Each authority is a ‘constituent member’, and the EMCCA board will be chaired by the new East Midlands mayor following the May 2024 election. Two designated representatives from each constituent council will be able to vote on all decisions taken by the EMCCA board. 74 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal para 16  This means the authority will have five Labour representatives and four Conservative members at the time of its establishment.

Additional non-constituent or ‘associate’ members can be appointed by the EMCCA, and may include members from non-constituent councils such as district and borough councils or blue light services, health and business voices. 75 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal paras 17 - 18.  These members may be able to vote on given issues. 76 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal para 17

Following consultation by local authorities in spring 2023, each local authority voted on whether to approve the creation of the Combined Authority. The East Midlands Combined County Authority Order 2024 to establish the EMCCA was laid in parliament on 18 December 2023, 77 statutoryinstruments.parliament.uk/instrument/0gDalreu/timeline/edZ9oMEw  and was signed into law on 28 February 2024. 78 twitter.com/JacobYoungMP/status/1762528522390605926?s=20  The new Combined Authority Board (absent the yet-to-be-elected mayor) met for the first time on 20 March.

The EMCCA region has a population of 2.2m and spans an area of 4,790km2. The region has more than 80,000 businesses employing more than 930,000 people, and has a gross value added (GVA) of over £50.5bn. 79 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal para 1 80 Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal para 1.

What powers does the mayor and combined authority have?

The mayor and combined authority hold devolved powers in areas including transport, skills, regeneration and economic development. 91 Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal para 20 and 21

Unlike other devolution deal areas, local transport services were not managed across the devolution area. The government and constituent councils instead developed a ‘transitional plan’ to improve transport in the region. After this interim period, 92 A transitional plan will be agreed between the government and the constituent councils of the EMCCA.  responsibility for the local transport strategy will be transferred to the new mayor and combined authority. The current deal anticipates that EMCCA will work towards faster delivery of integrated ticketing, a consolidated transport budget and the creation of a key route road network and bus franchising.

The combined authority controls the East Midlands Investment Fund. It is expected to use this towards transformational long-term investments with the government allocating £38m per year over a 30-year period subject to five-yearly reviews. 93 Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal#finance-and-investment paras 36 and 37

Subject to parliamentary approval via secondary legislation, the adult education budget will be fully devolved from the academic year 2025-26. 94 Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal#finance-and-investment para 46  The size of this budget will depend on decisions taken at subsequent spending reviews: based on funding for other combined authorities, this would have been around £66m in 2021/22. 95 Figure has been estimated using the average per capita adult education devolved budget across all current combined authorities and multiplying this by the population of the new EMCCA area. The per capita skills budget, varies across combined authorities, the lowest per capita funding is Cambridgeshire with £13.38, the largest is Tees Valley with £45.71, these figures imply the EMCCA budget could be between £29 million and £100 million.

EMCCA has powers to assist the delivery of new homes against local housing priorities outlined by relevant authorities. These powers include land acquisition and disposal. The mayor will have the power to designate mayoral development areas and establish mayoral development corporations. 96 Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal#finance-and-investment paras 57-60

The implementation of the initial 2022 devolution deal is a first step, and subject to further agreement among local stakeholders, additional powers may be sought in the future

How does the East Midlands compare to the rest of the UK in terms of social and economic outcomes?

The East Midlands underperforms the national average across several core economic indicators. Economic productivity and gross median pay are below the UK average, and while there is variation across the local areas, no area within the region meets the UK average on either measure. 97 At a district council level, however three districts – Rushcliffe, Bolsover and South Derbyshire – have above-average productivity (£46, £44 and £63 per hour worked respectively against the UK average of £35 per hour). Rushcliffe Derby Dales, High Peak and South Derbyshire have above-average household income.

The region also underperforms on adult skills indicators. Only, 57% of 16–64 olds have a level three qualification or above, compared to 61% across the UK. Derby performs strongest in the region with almost 60% having a level three qualification. The lowest is Nottinghamshire at 54%.

The East Midlands has a lower proportion of houses (75%) that reach the decent homes standard than England as a whole (77%); this is true for three of constituent council areas though Nottinghamshire also has 77% of houses that meet the decent homes standard. 98 Nottinghamshire falls slightly below UK national performance at 76.9% compares with 77.1% nationally.

Public transport use to get to work is highest in Nottingham (37%), but this is an outlier compared to the rest of the largely rural region, which as a whole is below the national average.

 


How does the EMCCA area overlap with other administrative boundaries?

The combined authority area directly aligns with the geography of the D2N2 local enterprise partnership, which will be integrated into EMCCA.

EMCCA covers two police areas – Derbyshire constabulary and Nottinghamshire police. An agreement about formalised joint working arrangements over public safety matters will need to be reached between EMCCA and the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioners. 99 Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, ‘East Midlands devolution deal’ Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 30 August 2022, retrieved 15 November 2023, www.gov.uk/government/publications/east-midlands-devolution-deal/east-midlands-devolution-deal

There are two NHS integrated care systems (ICS) in the EMCCA area: Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, and Derby and Derbyshire, but this latter stretches beyond the new combined authority into Staffordshire. 100 NHS England, ‘Midlands Directory’, NHS England, (no date), retrieved 15 November 2023 www.england.nhs.uk/system-and-organisational-oversight/system-directory/midlands-region

Local and mayoral elections 2024

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