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Tees Valley receives first tranche of devolution funding

The Tees Valley Combined Authority has received £15m from the DCLG today as its first tranche of devolution funding.

The money follows a devolution deal signed last October and is part of a planned £450m investment over the next 30 years.

The combined authority will now produce proposals for how to invest the funding to deliver its Strategic Economic Plan.

Andrew Percy, minister for the Northern Powerhouse, said: “Now today’s £15m government investment into the Northern Powerhouse is proof that we will equip them with what they need to get the north firing on all cylinders and build an economy that works for everyone.”

The goals of the Tees Valley Combined Authority Strategic Economic Plan include:

  • supporting more young people to gain the skills required to progress into work
  • improving outcomes from education
  • helping people with multiple barriers to work to find good quality jobs
  • extending high speed broadband
  • supporting growth sectors of the economy to generate more jobs
  • developing cultural assets and the visitor economy
  • creating viable business cases for major infrastructure investments

Middlesbrough mayor David Budd, chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “This additional funding negotiated through our devolution deal, as the first payment of a 30-year commitment, is one more step on this journey.

“We will invest it in local priorities which give people the skills they need, and the jobs our region needs for a successful future. We will continue our dialogue with government to secure further commitments, and to become a flagship for successful devolution.”

The news comes at a time of uncertainty for the Northern Powerhouse. Lord O’Neill, the devolution minister, recently resigned from the Treasury, and leaders of devolved bodies, including Budd, warned following the EU referendum result that the devolution process could suffer from a loss of EU funding.

The Tees Valley is due to hold its first mayoral election in May 2017. There have been rumours that Theresa May is considering abolishing the requirement for elected mayors to be introduced as part of the devolution process.

In its statement, the DCLG also said North East council leaders had “walked away” from their own devolution offer. Sajid Javid, the communities and local government secretary, withdrew the devolution offer after Sunderland, Durham, South Tyneside and Gateshead councils voted against it.

But Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, who voted in favour, announced this week that they are considering negotiating their own deal.

Last month, the West Midlands Combined Authority received £36.5m, the first part of a £1bn funding deal.

(Image c. Mick Garratt)

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