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08.05.19

First ever North of Tyne mayor takes office and promises ‘green new deal’

Jamie Driscoll has been named as the first ever mayor for the North of Tyne, and declared a climate emergency in his first day in charge of the newly formed combined authority.

The Labour candidate defeated his closest rival, Conservative’s Charlie Hoult, with over 76,000 votes, becoming the first person to hold the office following a “once-in-a-generation” £600m devolution deal.

In his first day in office, Driscoll has already pledged to build a new bank, grow small business, and create affordable housing across the North of Tyne.

But he stated his priority was tackling climate change during his five-year mayoral term, and that he would put in place a “green new deal” for the region.

“We are facing a climate emergency and we're going to be getting people in place here to work with councils, businesses and citizens to move us towards being carbon neutral by 2030.

“That’s a monumental piece of work and it's going to need people at the combined authority looking at this full time.

“We are facing a climate emergency and we're going to be getting people in place here to work with councils, businesses and citizens to move us towards being carbon neutral by 2030.

“That's a monumental piece of work and it's going to need people at the combined authority looking at this full time.”

Driscoll beat his own council’s leader, Nick Forbes of Newcastle City Council, to the Labour nomination for the new role after receiving endorsement from John McDonnell and Momentum, before winning 33.9% of the mayoral votes.

He said “victory on the North of Tyne is a verdict on positive campaigning on clear socialist policies.”

“There are severe pockets of rural deprivation. Even people who are getting by and have good jobs, the lack of provision of services close to where people are does affect things, such as environmental pressure.

“There are effectively seven of us on the cabinet, me as mayor and two each from the local authorities, and it’s about realising that we’ve all got a responsibility for delivering this, there is a democratic mandate for the policies.”

The mayor will serve until 2024, taking over from the current interim mayor Norma Redfearn to head up the new North of Tyne Combined Authority which has already set out its ambitions for the devolved fund of £600m from the government.

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25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >