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Devolution deal offered to establish new North East Mayor

The decision to implement a new North East mayor and ratify a multi-billion pound devolution deal is set for approval by parliament.

For years, councils across the North East have discussed the benefits of signing a devolution deal and introducing a mayor with ministers in the Houses of Parliament. Finally, the decision has reached the final hurdle. Yesterday, an order was laid in parliament which will pave the way for a new authority to be formed.

white and brown building near body of water during daytime

Once formally approved, the North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities will be abolished to make way for a new North East Combined Authority, with the election of a mayor set for May this year.

The new authority is being set up under the leadership of the seven council leaders in County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, and Sunderland.

In a joint statement, the seven council leaders, and North of Tyne Mayor, welcomed the next steps in the process.

‘It’s exciting that the devolution deal we secured is now moving through parliament. It’s an important final step before the formation of our new combined authority,’ officials said. ‘As a group of leaders we are working together already to put plans into place to deliver for our residents, businesses, and communities.’

The leaders added: ‘That collaboration means we will hit the ground running and deliver results for the people of this region.

‘The new powers and funding we negotiated will mean important decisions about our region will be made here, in the North East. This is set to be a transformative year for the North East.’

Despite the decision bringing substantial new changes, it will not impact the services that local councils are responsible for. However, the functions of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Transport North East and Invest North East England will be delivered by the new combined authority.

These new features were introduced as part of the devolution deal, which received positive feedback during a public consultation last year and was agreed with government in December 2022.

The investment package, which is worth £4.2bn, includes:

  • An investment fund of £1.4bn, or £48m a year, to support inclusive economic growth and support regeneration
  • An indicative budget of around £1.8bn, or £60m a year, for adult education and skills – to meet local skills priorities and improve opportunities for residents
  • A £900m package of investment to transform the transport system, with £563m from the City Regional Sustainable Transport Fund, on top of funding already announced for buses and the metro system
  • £69m of investment in housing and regeneration, unlocking sites to bring forward new housing and commercial development

Jacob Young, minister for levelling up, said: ‘[Yesterday was] an important milestone for communities across the North East as their landmark devolution deal moves one step closer to becoming a reality.

‘The reason we’re so excited for this to get over the line is because a major part of levelling up is giving local people, who know their areas best, the levers and money they need to improve their areas.

‘That’s exactly what this deal does – from Sedgefield to the Scottish Border – providing new decision-making powers, billions in funding and a new mayor who can champion their area on behalf of the two million who live there.’

Image: Ryan Booth

More on this topic:

60% of England now covered by historic devolution deals

North East set to get metro mayor under 1.4bn devolution deal

Emily Whitehouse
Writer and journalist for Newstart Magazine, Social Care Today and Air Quality News.

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