North East devolution deal set to progress
Politicians at North East local authorities will be holding meetings over the coming week to progress plans towards the delivery of a £4.2billion devolution deal for the region.
Following extensive negotiations, the Government announced in December a devolution deal for the local authority areas of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
The deal would see significant funds and powers transferred to the North East, where a new combined authority headed by an elected metro mayor would be formed.
Over the next week the Cabinet Members at each of the seven local authorities will be asked to endorse proposals for the deal.
This includes a public consultation on the deal, which it is expected to begin the week starting January 23.
A mayoral election is expected to take place in May 2024 and a new combined authority would be enacted, while the existing North of Tyne Combined Authority and North East Combined Authority would cease to operate.
The deal offers a potential £4.2bn of investment into the region, made up of elements including:
- An investment fund of £1.4bn, or £48m a year, to support inclusive economic growth and support our regeneration priorities
- 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 expected to create 24,000 extra jobs, deliver 70,000 courses per year to give people the skills to get good jobs, and leverage £5.0 billion of private sector investment.
Once established, the new authority, covering an area which is home to around 2 million people, will have the power to make decisions on areas such as transport, skills, housing, finance and economic development. The potential deal does not involve any changes to existing councils.
The deal also includes provision to enter into negotiations alongside Greater Manchester and West Midlands Combined Authorities on trailblazer provisions which deepen and enhance the powers devolved to mayoral combined authorities.