Consultation shows strong support for North of Tyne devolution deal

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A devolution deal for the North of Tyne received strong support from local people, a consultation report has revealed.

The Cabinets of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland councils this week reviewed the response to the consultation on the governance changes required to implement a devolution deal for the North of Tyne, and agreed to submit a detailed report on the feedback to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid.

The report revealed strong support from local people, businesses and voluntary organisations for the opportunities offered by the deal, including the greater investment that devolution brings; more local power and control; additional powers around education; proposals for rural growth and stewardship; and the focus on housing, infrastructure, transport, skills and employment.

Over 1,000 individual responses were received plus hundreds of people from across the North East attended a series of consultation events in January and February to give their views on the proposals.

Several letters of support were also received from business, voluntary, health and education organisations across the region who felt a devolution deal for the North of Tyne would bring positive changes to the area.

There were a number of issues raised during the consultation that will need to be taken into account as the proposals develop, but it was agreed that the overall results of the consultation supported progressing with the devolution deal.

The submission of the report marks the next step in bringing a range of unprecedented new powers and funding, including £600 million of investment, to the North of Tyne as part of a devolution deal for the area. The investment and new powers offered are expected to generate £1.1 billion for the local economy, create 10,000 new jobs and leverage £2.1 billion in private sector investment.

Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle Council, said:

“Devolution will bring significant new investment to the region allowing us to equip residents for the jobs of the future.

“It’s vitally important to the success of devolution that local communities support it and benefit directly from it. The consultation demonstrates strong support and I look forward to the next step in this exciting journey.”

Norma Redfearn CBE, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, said:

“Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their views on this very exciting proposal. This deal is all about giving our people new and better opportunities and I was very pleased to see such strong support for it.

“I am happy that we can progress to the next stage in this process, and that we are now another step closer to bringing new investment and powers to the North of Tyne.”

Councillor Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland Council, said:

“We’re delighted with the feedback and the number of people who took the opportunity to join the consultation.

“This is a once in a lifetime chance to take local decisions about our future to provide more and better opportunities for everyone. We’re now committed to progressing our devolution plans as the region moves towards an exciting future.”

Should the Secretary of State be content that the consultation results and supporting governance review meet a range of statutory tests, he will put orders in place to set up a new North of Tyne Combined Authority. Those new arrangements are expected to be in place by summer 2018.

Jo Gamble