North East moves one step closer to historic Mayor
07 Feb 2024
The North East of England will soon enjoy the economic benefits of a £1.4bn investment fund as legislation is laid in Parliament to implement a new devolution deal.
The reforms will provide a directly elected mayor for seven local authority areas across the North East with the first election taking place in May 2024. It will result in new powers and major new funding for the region, including the largest investment fund of any of the deals announced since the Levelling Up White Paper’s publication in February 2022.
Over 30 years, £1.4bn will help to level up all seven local authorities in the North East; Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham. Today’s legislation also establishes them as a new combined authority which will have control of up to £563 million to shape and improve local rail and bus services.
It will give greater power to local leaders by allowing them to shape adult education provision in a way that meets the needs of business and the community while allowing them to kick start regeneration by supporting the construction of affordable homes on brownfield sites.
Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young, said: “Today is an important milestone for communities across the North East as their landmark devolution deal moves one step closer to becoming a reality.
“The reason we’re so excited for this to get over the line is because a major part of levelling up is giving local people, who know their areas best, the levers and money they need to improve their areas. That’s exactly what this deal does - from Sedgefield to the Scottish Border - providing new decision-making powers, billions in funding and a new mayor who can champion their area on behalf of the two million who live there.”
The political leaders of the seven councils and North of Tyne Combined Authority said in a joint statement: “It‘s exciting that the devolution deal we secured is now moving through Parliament. It’s an important final step before the formation of our new combined authority.
“As a group of leaders we are working together already to put plans into place to deliver for our residents, businesses and communities. That collaboration means we will hit the ground running and deliver results for the people of this region.
“The new powers and funding we negotiated will mean important decisions about our region will be made here, in the North East. This is set to be a transformative year for the North East.”
The region boasts long standing sector strengths in advanced manufacturing and clean energy which continues to grow. Aligned to the arc of innovation - running from Northumberland down to Sunderland and Durham, with opportunities along the Tyne corridor – the devolution deal will empower the region and its people by giving them more control, money and opportunities to improve their communities.
This devolution deal is part of a plan to bring long-term change, delivering a brighter future for Britain and the North East of England, improving economic security and opportunity for everyone.