Council leaders of Devon and Torbay have signed a devolution agreement, transferring £16m in funding to the region and more power to local authorities.

Levelling Up minister Jacob Young MP announced the new deal alongside Cllr John Hart, leader of Devon County Council and Cllr David Thomas, leader of Torbay Council, Anthony Mangnall MP and Kevin Foster MP, at the Epic centre in Paignton.

The deal will send £16m to the new Combined County Authority, CCA, and give both councils new powers over local housing, local jobs and to develop a ‘green economy’. One of their aims is to have over 50,000 training and education opportunities for adults across the area.

The deal will also seek to develop more affordable housing in the region allowing locals to stay in the region and attract more people to Devon and Torbay.

Leader of Devon County Council, Cllr John Hart said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we got this deal for the people of Devon. It is something I believed in for a very long time that devolution, bringing power down from London, has got to be the future.

“We are now going to be allowed to do some of the things we want to do, ourselves. We are certainly going to have to some money, and we are certainly going to do some building. But we are also going to start taking responsibility for training people in their skills, we are going to be working better with the voluntary sector, working better with the business sector.”

Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes, said: “I hope what you’re going to see is the local economy thrive because we have got businesses here in the Epic centre clamouring for more space and that’s what this is going to give them. That then benefit South Devon College which means they will have to upgrade their training facilities to make sure we have got a large proportion of young people thinking ‘I actually want a career in photonics’ that is the industry of tomorrow. This isn’t a promise for tomorrow, this is money today that is going to make a big difference not just over a 5 or 10 year period but over a 50 year period, that is going to make sure the local economy in South Devon is really vibrant.”

Jacob Young, Levelling Up minister and MP for Redcar, said: “This deal has been a long time in the making. We’ve been having discussion with Devon County Council and Torbay and Plymouth for quite some time. I want to see this deal come into play as soon as possible, because I think it’s about making decisions at the right strategic level, about giving people control over the things that are important to them. It’s for Devon and Torbay now to decide how long that is going to be, they have got a consultation process and obviously people will respond to that consultation when its concluded. But from my perspective, I want to give these powers away, I want people to be able to set their own future, so I want to see this deal in action as soon as possible.”