North East devolution deal worth £1.4 billion announced by government

The proposed devolution deal will cover Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham. Credit: PA/ITV

The North East could get a regional mayor under government plans for a devolution deal worth £1.4 billion, announced today.

The government has outlined proposals to create a North East Mayoral Combined Authority, with decisions on more areas of public spending falling into the remit of a new regional figurehead.

The deal would cover Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham.

The proposed deal includes:

  • A promised £1.4 billion in government funding delivered over the next 30 years

  • Fresh powers over the adult education budget and a greater say over the local skills improvement plan.

  • A promise of £17.4 million to support the building new homes on brownfield land, plus £20 million for regeneration projects.

  • Local leaders would also be given control of up to £563 million to improve local rail services.

If approved, elections for the role of mayor could take place in May 2024.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove says the move would would bring more decision making powers over issues like transport and housing to people across the region.

He said: "I'm proud to have agreed a historic new devolution deal with the North East that gives local leaders more power, more money, and an even greater say on how their areas are run.

"Devolution is all about letting leaders who live and breathe the region decide what is in their best interests, for their people and for their businesses.

"A new mayor will ensure local priorities in the North East are at the heart of decision-making, while our billion-pound funding boost will provide the financial certainty needed to level up the area right now and for years to come."

In a joint statement, local leaders and mayors across the North East said: "This is a significant step towards securing important decision-making powers and investment for our region.

"This would allow us to make decisions that reflect local needs and invest wisely into projects that will make a difference for all our residents, communities and local economy.

"There remains a process for all councils and combined authorities to consider the details and a public consultation before a final decision is made.

"We are pleased that we have successfully negotiated a proposed deal which is a step towards reaching our ambition for this region. This is an important milestone in our journey and we will now engage with stakeholders to move the deal to the next stage."

Lucy Winskell, chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The development heralds new funding and decision-making powers that will unlock the creation of more and better jobs, allow us to seize new opportunities, address issues that are holding us back and critically, to compete where we have strengths on a national, sectoral and global stage, and most importantly to do this in partnership."

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