North of Tyne devolution deal details revealed

Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council.
Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council.

The 815,000 people living in Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside will vote for a new directly-elected mayor who will have new powers in housing, planning and skills.

Details of the devolution deal, worth an initial £600million, have been unveiled today by Treasury Minister Andrew Jones, who visited the region and was joined by the Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry and local leaders.

The North of Tyne area’s devolved powers include full control over the adult education budget, an Inclusive Growth Board to co-ordinate skills and employment and a rural productivity plan, with North of Tyne receiving a Rural Business classification in order to help attract funding.

In addition, the deal includes a collaboration commitment with the Government to boost trade and investment, digital infrastructure and growth across the area in sectors such as science research, offshore developments, renewable energy projects, culture and creative industries.

Mr Jones said: “This Government is delivering for the North East. We have been clear in our commitment to ensure that opportunity is shared across the country as we create an economy fit for the future.

“Today represents a big step in achieving this – giving the people of the North of the Tyne a bigger voice and greater power over their future.

“This historic deal, including £600 million of Government investment, is yet another example of how we are backing the North. It will bolster the local economy in the North of Tyne and generate thousands of new jobs.

“This deal comes on top of a Budget that delivers brand new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro, freezes fuel duty for the eighth year running and supports business with a cut in business rates.”

The Government estimates that the deal will boost the local economy by £1.1billion, create 10,000 new jobs and attract £2.1billion in private investment.

Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The detailed negotiations with Government ministers have resulted in an ambitious deal, with many exciting opportunities for the county.

“There are some significant issues for us to tackle over the next few years and this deal will give us the tools with which to make a real positive difference to the whole of Northumberland.

“In particular, we have been asking the Government to help us significantly improve the educational attainment in our schools and I am delighted that we have been given the opportunity to introduce an Education Improvement Challenge for the area. This will be the first outside London.

“We’ve also been asking central Government to devolve powers to our region so we will become a rural growth pilot for England to develop ways in which we can improve prosperity, job opportunities and housing delivery in all of our communities.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a step change to improve the prospect of every single person living in Northumberland.”