A ground-breaking deal has been signed to transfer power and more than £600million of funding to the region.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry last night signed the Parliamentary Order to formally confirm the North of Tyne devolution deal, an unprecedented transfer of devolved power and investment funding from Westminster to the North East.
The deal includes the three North of Tyne authorities – Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle.
Expected to generate £1.1billion for the local economy,10,000 new jobs and drive more than £2.1billion in private sector investment, the landmark deal will provide a major economic boost.
It also includes:
More than £600million of Government funding (£20million a year for 30 years) to drive forward investment in digital skills, science and rural growth.
The creation of a new North of Tyne Combined Authority and a directly-elected North of Tyne mayor, with the election planned for May 2019.
A new Inclusive Growth Board to take forward skills and employment reforms across the area, including a pioneering North of Tyne Education Improvement Challenge to drive excellence in schools across North of Tyne.
Mr Berry said: "This deal represents over £600million of investment into the North of Tyne and a landmark moment for devolution in the Northern Powerhouse with a new, directly-elected mayor who will be a strong champion for the region.
“The North of Tyne Devolution Deal is further proof that we’re witnessing a new golden era for the North East as the Combined Authority uses this unprecedented investment to improve public services, create new jobs and new economic opportunities. We’re transferring funding and decision making away from Westminster and placing them directly into the hands of local people, allowing them to have a real say over their future.”
An inaugural cabinet meeting at Morpeth Town Hall on Thursday will assign cabinet roles and responsibilities, set the budget for 2018/2019, and agree a timetable for the selection of an interim mayor to support the NTCA ahead of an election in May 2019.
The cabinet will also sign-off the North of Tyne’s economic vision, titled Home of Ambition, a statement which will underpin and guide the authority’s ambitions and investment priorities for years to come.
Coun Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “So much work has gone into securing the best deal for the North of Tyne and I’m delighted we can now move forward with the real business of driving the region’s economic growth.
“We’re working on a number of exciting and transformative schemes which will benefit millions of people in the region now, as well as future generations, and we are all excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.”
North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “This is a historic day for the region. The North of Tyne area already boasts one of the fastest growing economies and job rates anywhere in the UK and this will offer us greater opportunities to grow and develop
" We have shown that we are big enough and bold enough to carve our own destiny and devolution puts us in a very strong position to build on our strengths and achieve great things for all of our businesses and residents long into the future.”
Coun Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “Today marks a significant day in the north’s devolution journey. We’ve begun the work of uniting behind a single voice and taking control of our future.
“We still have much more to do in bringing further powers and decision making back to people here, but this devolution deal marks a big step forward in our plans to create more and better jobs across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. Now we need to get on with the task at hand, investing in our region and showing the nation and beyond why this is such a great place to live, work and visit.”
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick MP, said: “The creation today of the North of Tyne Combined Authority is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work by local leaders.
“The deal delivers £600 million of new government investment for the region over the next 30 years to fund key local priorities.
“This move will put more power into the hands of local communities, with the people of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland voting next May for a new directly-elected mayor to lead this vital work."