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12.02.15

Tees Valley Combined Authority plans receive public support

Five councils in the Tees Valley are to press ahead with plans to establish a combined authority after a majority of the public supported the idea in a consultation.

Councils in Darlington, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton and Redcar say the authority would allow Tees Valley to gain greater power and national influence.

They are moving forward with the plans after 65% of more than 1,900 respondents were in favour of the new authority.

This week, Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald told a House of Commons debate that the region was “at the mercy” of more powerful cities and would continue to be starved of transport funds in particular.

Council leaders hope this new body could unlock devolved powers and resources from the government.

Each borough council will now be asked to approve a scheme to be submitted to the communities secretary and it could be approved as early as autumn.

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon said: "A strong single voice is essential if we are to advance the Tees area agenda on key strategic issues such as transport, employment and in the skills agenda, which are crucial to economic growth."

Seven councils in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham formed the North East Combined Authority last year.

(Image source: Mick Garratt)

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