Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Sunday Read: A historic devolution deal for the North East

Transport, power over taxes, integration of services, and a single strong voice for the North East - that sums up the devolution deal that was signed in the region on Friday.

As a region we now have the opportunity to do what has been successfully done in Greater London, and in many of the great cities and areas of the world.

I am not afraid to criticise Labour politicians when they get it wrong but let me today put on record that I am very proud that the 7 Labour Council Leaders for our area have put party politics aside to sign this historic deal.

Much of the detail of this new deal - giving us greater capacity for jobs, growth and a new vision for the North East comes direct from those Council Leaders. Working constructively with the Chancellor they have shipped these powers directly out of London and to the North East.

The leader of Northumberland County Council Grant Davey deserves credit for working with the Chancellor to secure a good deal for our county.

The new deal will give the region choice over major projects such as, the future of the A1 and the Tyne Valley Railway line, which will potentially be placed in the hands of the elected mayor.

Control over police and fire are also included in the deal, along with transport, education and business rates, which will all fall under the new mayor’s remit who will be elected in 2017.

As part of the deal the North East will receive £30m a year for the next 30 years.

Labour leader of Durham County Council Cllr Henig said: “This is a major milestone for the North East, it is an important day.

“There has been a lot of hard work over the past few weeks and that will continue seeing how the public wants to take this forward - we must take their views into consideration.

“I think it’s a good thing that this deal takes into account rural and urban areas.”