£1.4billion 30-year North East devolution deal becomes a reality as Government and councils put pen to paper
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The deal will transfer new powers to the region to deliver skills, transport and housing.
Mr Gove met with the Mayor of North Tyne and representatives from all seven local authorities to sign the document sealing the deal which sees the Government guarantee the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) more than £1.4billion over the next 30 years.
A local consultation on the deal is now open and if approved, people across Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham will be given the power to elect directly a Mayor of the North East from next year.
The MCA will control a multi-million pound Adult Education budget, as well as more than half a billion pounds to upgrade public transport through a new City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement and provide immediate support to build new affordable homes on brownfield sites.
Mr Gove said: “I am proud to sign this historic devolution deal for the North East today, which will give local leaders the flexibility and freedom they need to tackle the most pressing issues affecting the day-to-day lives of people in the area.
“Levelling up the North East remains an absolute priority for the government, and I look forward to working closely with local leaders to unlock fresh opportunities that create tangible benefits for people right across the region.”
Sunderland City Council leader Cllr Graeme Miler said the deal was a ‘massive game-changer’ which would have a huge impact: “I can’t wait to see the benefits it will bring to Sunderland,” he said.
"It is going to attract massive investment.”
Northumberland County Council leader Cllr Glen Sanderson said the deal proved the region’s political parties could work together: “Our politics may be poles apart but our commitment and our intentions are very close,” he said.
"I am very positive that the people of the region will benefit enormously from this deal.”
South Tyneside Borough Council leader Cllr Tracey Dixon was delighted: “This deal is amazing for South Tyneside and for the region,” she said.
"The devolution deal is going to give us £4.2billion to invest in the region, creating new jobs and homes and giving people the right skills for those jobs.”
What the deal provides
The deal provides the region with powers to better improve local skills through full devolution of the Adult Education budget and a greater say over the Local Skills Improvement Plan, which brings together local businesses, colleges, and training providers.
The region will receive £17.4million to support and accelerate the building of new homes on brownfield land, as well as £20million to level up and kick start regeneration, delivering new affordable homes and green economic growth.
And a new City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement with government will give control of up to £563million to help shape and improve local rail services, as well as introduce bus franchising.
The new North East MCA will replace the existing North of Tyne MCA and Mayor, as well as the non-mayoral North East Combined Authority.