Two tall cranes on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland, England.

Further progress on North East devolution deal

In December, the Government announced a devolution deal for the local authority areas of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland. This would allow for more power and funding for the region.

All of the seven local authorities involved in the new deal are to meet this week with their Cabinet Members being asked to endorse proposals for the deal. The elements that make up the potential £4.2 billion worth of investment include:

  • An investment fund of £1.1 billion (£48 million per year) to help support inclusive economic growth and regeneration priorities
  • An indicative budget of around £1.8 billion (£60 million per year) for adult education and skills as they look to meet local skills priorities and improve opportunities for residents
  • A £900 million package of investment to transform our transport system, with £563 million from the City Regional Sustainable Transport Fund, on top of funding already announced for buses and Newcastle’s metro system
  • £69 million of investment in housing and regeneration to unlock sites for new housing and commercial development.

Once the new devolution deal has gone through and the new authority established, around two million people will be able to have a say in the key decisions affecting them when it comes to transport, skills, housing, finance and economic development, among others. The opportunity is also anticipated to create 24,000 new jobs, 70,000 new courses every year to help develop skills to improve job opportunities, and leverage private sector investment that could equate to £5 billion.

When the deal was announced, leaders of the North East region released a statement saying:

“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 in 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 into the next stage.”

A public consultation will also be opened, with this expected to begin in the week commencing the 23rd January.

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