Leaders welcome positive response to ‘historic’ £4.2bn North East devolution deal

Plans for an ‘historic’ devolution deal for the North East of England have received widespread support from across the region.

An eight-week consultation earlier this year asked residents, businesses and other stakeholders to give their views on the proposed scheme; the document that sets out how devolution would be implemented.

Feedback saw respondents welcome the proposed increase in regional power, a greater profile for the North East, and closer working arrangements among key organisations.

In total, it is expected to provide £4.2bn of additional investment to the region over 30 years, including a £1.4bn investment fund alongside significant funding for transport, education and skills, housing and regeneration.

The deal would involve the creation of a new mayoral combined authority covering County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland, and is projected to create 24,000 additional jobs in the area and unlock £5bn additional private sector investment into the region.

A total of 3,235 individuals and organisations from across the region took part in the consultation process. Participants were asked to consider five key areas around the proposals, and in all instances, the majority of respondents agreed with the plans.

These were governance of the proposed North East Mayoral Combined Authority (61 per cent agreed) as well as its plans around transport (67 per cent), housing and planning (60 per cent), finance and investment (53 per cent), and skills, employment and adult education (65 per cent).

Welcoming the positive reaction from across the North East, the leaders of the seven local authorities commented: “The findings paint a clear picture of a united North East that wants to see us work together to drive our region forward and unlock further opportunities in the future.

“We are confident that the changes will have an economic, social and wellbeing impact by creating more good jobs and homes as well as creating a better-connected region.

“This consultation has provided us with a significant amount of positive feedback, as well as lots of important considerations to take on board, to ensure the North East Mayoral Combined Authority delivers for the near two million people who call our region their home.

“We would like to thank everyone who took part for helping us to progress with this historic opportunity that has the potential to transform our region for the better.”

Credit: Bdaily

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