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Final local approval for devolution deal

Devolution plans for the North East that would see the region gain new powers and £4.2bn in investment have had the final local political approval.

The seven North East councils involved in the deal have given their approval for a new North East Mayoral Combined Authority to be established, which will see the existing North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities ceasing to operate. The two combined authorities have also approved the same decision.

Once established, the new combined authority will see the region receive billions of pounds of new investment and additional decision-making powers to give local leaders a greater say on the region’s future.

The latest development comes as the cabinets of the seven councils - Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland – and the two combined authorities, including the North of The Mayor, gave the go-ahead for a historic parliamentary order to be made.

In a joint statement, the leaders of the seven councils said: “There has been widespread optimism for this landmark deal at every stage of the process to deliver this significant investment and decision-making power to the North East.

“We are incredibly proud to collectively be delivering such potential for the near two million people who live here, and look forward to getting to work on improving people’s lives and providing new opportunities for our communities across the North East.

“We are already working closely together to steer the development for the new combined authority with a great deal of work going on to ensure we are effective from day one.

“We send our thanks to everybody who has played their part in this process so far, whether it’s been helping to shape the deal agreed with government, offering feedback to the consultation, or supporting the key preparations of establishing a new combined authority for the region.”

The deal, which received widely-positive feedback during a public consultation earlier this year, was agreed with government in December 2022. The £4.2bn investment package 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 our transport system, with £563m from the City Regional Sustainable Transport Fund, on top of funding already announced for our buses and metro system

· £69m of investment in housing and regeneration, unlocking sites to bring forward new housing and commercial development

It is also expected to lead to an extra 24,000 jobs in the region and unlock an additional £5bn in private sector investment. It also included scope for the region to enter into ‘trailblazer’ negotiations to enable the North East to play a leading role in further devolution of powers and investment in the future. These talks are ongoing between council leaders and government.

The establishment of a new combined authority would not impact the services that local councils are responsible for delivering. 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.

The next step in the process requires Chief Executives of each of the councils and combined authorities to also give approval to proceed before the Government can then make the order. This is expected to take place in early 2024, with elections to appoint a new elected mayor for the North East in May.


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