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20 November 2017, 09:19 | Updated: 20 November 2017, 09:22
A report's found closer joint working between Nottingham and Derby in a new metropolitan authority could provide an £11 billion boost to the local economy by 2030.
The study by Metro-Dynamics suggests there is a powerful case for formal collaboration, saying it could also created 250,000 new jobs.
It highlights the importance of authorities and businesses in the area working closely to seize new trading opportunities for the metro area, particularly ahead of Brexit, and any potential shocks it poses.
The idea would see the existing Nottingham and Derby City Council boundaries expanded to include county areas like Ashfield, Rushcliffe, Gedling, Broxtowe, Erewash, Amber Valley and South Derbyshire included in a new metropolitan authority.
Ben Lucas, Managing Director of Metro Dynamics, says in the report: “The more you look at Derby and Nottingham, the more apparent their underlying economic interdependence becomes. 40,000 people commute regularly between them and over 400,000 people commute to work in the wider metro area. Three quarters of the people who live in the area, also work in the area.”
“Our report makes a strong case for more collaboration to drive inclusive growth. Whilst the two cities will be critical to this, many future economic opportunities lie in the broader metro area.”
The report suggests a definition for this area which includes the urban districts adjacent and between the two cities – Amber Valley, Ashfield, Broxtowe, Erewash, Gedling, Rushcliffe and South Derbyshire. The consequent population of 1.4 million would be the fifth largest in the UK.
Derby and Nottingham City Councils have welcomed the report.
Councillor Ranjit Banwait, Leader of Derby City Council, said: “We launched our Metro Strategy earlier this year which gave the two cities a framework to pursue joint working. An example of this is our shared Gym and Swim offer for residents using our Council leisure facilities.”
“This report however really challenges us to take a more ambitious step and work purposefully across a larger metro area with a greater range of partners. Metro Dynamics present a well-argued case with strong evidence that we really could achieve more. While clearly not without challenges, I think it is an exciting development and hope Derby and Nottingham residents will share that view.”
Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “This report underlines the major benefits closer collaboration across the metro area can bring.
“One issue it highlights is the considerable underfunding we have experienced as an area in terms of Government spending and infrastructure investment.
“As the report states, although we are a similar size economically to the Greater Manchester city region, the wider Derby-Nottingham metro area receives lower government spending per person. If spending were equivalent to Manchester we would gain an additional £1.1bn.
“We will consider the report’s findings and recommendations in depth and discuss with neighbours and partners how we can take a combined approach, going beyond political and organisational interests and boundaries to make the most of the opportunities presented.”
The plan has not been welcomed by leaders on Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Councils, who say they will fight against the plans.
The leader say feasibility studies into the plans has already cost the taxpayer £100,000 to look into.
They also say the plan will change the landscape of the way the city and county's work currently, with some areas in the county being taken up by this new plan.