Monday, 7 April 2014

North East Local Authorities working together will bring jobs, growth, infrastructure and so much more

Today we have the debate on the creation of local authorities working together - something that has never happened before. 
No more should we be in a turf war between different local authorities, where everyone loses out. My best example of this was the Green Investment Bank, where the North East submitted not one, not two but 4 separate city bids for the bank location. Instead of combining and working together we ended up with nothing.
No other region has addressed its strengths and weaknesses like the North East did with the Adonis Report. This report was business led, written by experts, apolitical, hard hitting and realistic. It pulled few punches. The recommendations, backed up as they were by the Heseltine report, and the NECC, make the case for a combined authority; a Combined Authority will create a new transport authority allowing us to integrate and make infrastructure improvements, which are crucial our area. In addition, the LA7 will allow more money to be devolved from London to the region, and provide real ability to grow the jobs in the area. Greater Manchester, and other areas, have shown what can be achieved if there is unity and a committed agenda for change. This will not be regional government by the back door. This is not another layer of bureaucracy. This is simply the 7 local authority chairs working together under 1 agreed leader to provide the critical mass that wins big bids from government, overseas businesses and gets big infrastructure projects.  I am delighted that the region now has a clear way forward to deliver even more jobs, apprenticeships, and growth.