North East devo deal: What happens next and when YOU will get a chance to have your say

Last year closed with a huge piece of long-awaited news for the North East which is set to have an enormous impact on our region for decades to come.

A £4.2 billion devolution deal agreed between seven local councils and the government is set to bring in vast amounts of new money and give us more power to make decisions.

But while the deal has been agreed in principle, it is not done yet and there remains work to do if the election of a new North East mayor is to be held as planned in 2024.

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The next step in the process will see all seven councils involved in the deal agree to launch a public consultation on it at cabinet meetings due to be held this month.

By working together, the seven councils will unlock new money for the region and will be awarded extra decision-making powers.
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Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham are all part of the multi-billion pound agreement, after a late twist over the last few months that saw Durham jump on board with negotiations that had initially involved the other six.

The North East public will then have eight weeks to have its say on the deal, during a public consultation which is planned to start by the end of this month.

While the two million residents affected by what would be a major reorganisation of the region’s political landscape will be able to share their views on the devolution deal, there will be no vote on whether or not to accept it.

North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll wants the top job.

It will not be like the 2004 devolution referendum that was held in the North East, in which 77.9% of voters said no to the idea of creating a regional assembly.

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Once the eight-week consultation ends, the cabinets of the seven councils will meet separately again to agree to submit a summary of the public responses to the government.

Once that is done, it will be down to the government to get the deal on the parliamentary timetable later this year, so that it can be debated and signed off in the House of Commons.

Approval from parliament will then pave the way for the North East Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) to be formally established and for the election of a North East mayor to be scheduled for May 2024.