Talks continue over North East devolution deal

Talks over a devolution deal for the North East are continuing.

Friday, 7th July 2017, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 7:47 am
Quadrant, North Tyneside Council at Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside. REF 2602156943

Following recent local elections, North Tyneside Council, Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council say they are still committed to securing a devolution deal with the Government.

Discussions over the devolution of powers and funding to the North East have been ongoing since last autumn, aimed at help business growth and economic development.

Mayor Norma Redfearn is keen to ensure that communities and individuals benefit from the planned economic growth.

She said: “Creating new and better jobs is important, but the major challenge we face is making sure that our residents have the skills and ambition to access the job opportunities that will be created.

“Having a skills agenda that is focused on giving people the skills that employers are looking for both now and in the future is a fundamental element of the discussions we are having with Government.’’

Coun Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, added: “Our ambition is to create more and better jobs. To do this, we need to plan our infrastructure investments for the longer term.”

“We also need strong partnerships with business across our area to help them grow, employ more people and help us plan a better future for the region.

“There’s no reason why, with the right powers and ambition, the North East can’t leapfrog other areas and close the productivity gap between our area and the rest of the UK.”

Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The recent change in overall control of Northumberland County Council has not changed the council’s commitment to working with both Newcastle and North Tyneside.

“I am a firm supporter of regional devolution, and devolving powers and funding to such a diverse and asset-rich region is an exciting proposition. I am especially keen to explore the positive role that devolution can play in growing our rural economy.’’

Consultation with residents and stakeholders across the North East will take place before making a final decision on creating a new North of Tyne Mayoral Combined Authority.