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More devolved powers announced in Budget

Further devolution of wide-ranging powers are coming to the North East after Leaders secured a trailblazing deal with government.


The significant deal means a further shift in power and influence from central government to the North East on key drivers of local growth, including regeneration and affordable housing, local transport, skills and employment support.


You can read the full deal here.


These powers, as well as new funding potentially worth more than £100m, are in addition to the devolved powers coming to the new North East Combined Authority in May, following the election of a mayor.


Council Leaders secured the right to agree the ‘deeper devolution’ deal as part of the region’s original devolution negotiations. The North East is one of only three regions to secure a bespoke deal, following deals for Greater Manchester and West Midlands last year.




The new powers negotiated by the Leaders of Councils of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland are designed to reflect the region’s unique geography, with a mixture of urban, rural, and coastal communities.


Highlights include:


  • A £25m investment to support the development of the Riverside Sunderland site along with creation of a ‘Growth Zone’ to attract investment.

  • Investment of £10m to accelerate progress on a Health Innovation Zone - including the Health Innovation Neighbourhood and Forth Yards sites in Newcastle.

  • Support for the region’s rural and coastal economy – including a new Taskforce to support biodiversity and the natural environment.

  • £58m of funding brought forward to cover the maintenance and renewal of the Tyne and Wear Metro system for the next two years.

  • A single funding pot for housing and regeneration, more influence over affordable housing with a commitment to a future single government department style financial settlement.

  • Creation of a formal rail board with the government and rail industry to jointly develop plans for improvements to rail infrastructure and services in the region.

  • Support for plans to develop the expansion of the “Pop” card onto local rail services.

  • More local responsibility for developing and delivering adult education, skills and careers advice and working in partnership with Department for Work and Pensions to improve how people get into work.

  • More control over delivering affordable homes for residents, in partnership with Homes England.

  • A North East Strategic Energy Board which will coordinate energy supply and demand and promote growth in the offshore wind sector.

  • Development of a blueprint to support growth of the creative industries, heritage, sport and the visitor economy, and new opportunities to attract additional investment.

  • The Government will also work to address barriers to growth at the region’s ports and airport – the Green Superport – including on policy areas like grid infrastructure capacity and developing an industry-leading skills pipeline.

 

In a joint statement the seven Leaders said: “This is excellent news for the people of the region and will bring more power closer to our communities.


“As a group of seven council Leaders we made the case for a bespoke package that works for the people of this region.


“From enabling investment for Crown Works Studios to securing essential transport funding to a taskforce to tackle rural and coastal issues, this is a deal we have custom made for the North East.


“Today’s announcement will help us to do more and is rightful recognition that we are better placed to identify the priorities for our region.


“This is on top of the original devolution deal where we are already getting on with delivering on local priorities before the mayor is elected in May. We are already bringing investment forward for a range of schemes that benefit the whole region.


“This shows what we can achieve when we work together for the good of the region.”

The devolution deal agreed by Leaders with Government in December 2022 means a new combined authority will be formed in May this year, following an election of a mayor on May 2.

The trailblazer deal announced today will be formally ratified by the new North East Mayor and Cabinet later this summer.

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