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Minister for elected mayors says the current proposal is the best Norfolk and Suffolk will get

PUBLISHED: 17:55 27 October 2016 | UPDATED: 17:56 27 October 2016

Sajid Javid, communities secretary breaks his silence. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Sajid Javid, communities secretary breaks his silence. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The cabinet minister responsible for creating elected mayors has travelled to Norfolk and Suffolk in an attempt to rescue plans for the new post in the two counties.

Sajid Javid said the current multimillion pound offer was one of the most generous in the country, and the current offer “really is the best that is out there”.

He said he felt there was a “good acceptance about the benefits the deal could bring locally” from the leaders he had met, which included Norfolk County Council leader Cliff Jordan and the leaders of South Norfolk, King’s Lynn and Broadland.

Mr Javid met leaders in the two counties separately. He headed to Ipswich after travelling to Norwich.

Four of Norfolk’s councils - Norwich, Great Yarmouth, North Norfolk and Breckland - have already opted out of the deal meaning people living in those areas will not be able to vote for the new figurehead. Mr Javid insisted that even with the missing councils it was a “really good economic area and it makes a lot of sense” - but said he hoped that the opted out councils would join in the future.

Councillors will vote on whether to push ahead with the deal on November 21, although Norfolk County Council will debate the issue and hold a vote about whether they want their leader to proceed with discussions on November 7.

Mr Jordan said earlier this month that he was not confident his authority will back the move. The consultation was only approved by six votes last time the authority voted on the plans. Adnams chief executive Andy Wood, who has backed the deal and is chairing negotiations, said he was “ever hopeful” and believed when people heard from Mr Javid that it was “a non-negotiable situation” and it could set the two counties back in terms of the pecking order “heads would win over hearts.”

What do you think of the plans? Email edpletters@archant.co.uk

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