We need more detail for the devolution deal

MP Mary Glindon.
MP Mary Glindon.

You may have seen the controversy about the government’s plans for devolution for the north east.

Devolution is a very good principle as it allows political leaders who are closer to the people to make decisions that are better for those they represent.

But sometimes, if something seems too good to be true it is because it is too good to be true.

The plans seem to promise more funds and an elected north east mayor.

But the problem with the government’s plans is that it wants us to sign up before we can see the fine print. It has set a deadline for May and we won’t know the full detail until June.

The councils in the North East Combined Authority had signed up in principle last year. Gateshead has since sounded the alarm and others want changes.

I have endorsed a letter which criticises the needless haste of the approval procedure and regrets the absence of a public vote.

It cannot be right that council leaders, other elected members and the citizens they represent are expected to agree to a deal which contains no detail on the key mechanisms of governance.

The letter argues that the deal is fundamentally unsound, economically dysfunctional, unequal in its application, reduces local democratic control, and only offers a marginal increase in fiscal autonomy.

All our leaders want to maximise the interests of the north east, and I wish them the best.