Recently we published our blog Levelling Up – The Rise of the North East covering what the devolution plans from the UK government had meant so far. However, almost as soon as the metaphorical ink had dried on our news-piece, the government announced further potential plans. So, what are these new plans and what do they mean for the region?
Lord Mayor of (most of) the North East
From an administrative point of view, the most important aspect of the new proposal would be the creation of a mayoral role that would oversee the governmental devolution of a large chunk of the North East region.
If approved, the people of Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham will also be given the power to directly elect a Mayor of the North East. The winner of said election would act as a ‘local champion who can help attract investment to the area and act as a powerful local voice in discussions with central government and other bodies’.
A new mayor will be elected in 2024 if approved following local consultation.
Show Us The Money (and the development)
The new proposal states that the government will ‘guarantee the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) more than £1.4 billion over the next 30. Thus, enabling the new Mayor to plan for the long term, with certainty, and unlock the benefits of devolution for 2 million people living in the area.’
The deal would involve new funding of about £48m a year over the 30-year period – plus a £563m transport budget and a substantial budget for adult education and skills.
The new North East Mayoral Combined Authority authority would also have powers to build affordable homes on brownfield sites.
A New Level for the North East?
As with any potential UK government program, the proof will be entirely in the pudding, but the early responses have been positive.
Jamie Driscoll, the North of Tyne mayor, who was elected in May 2019 has been quoted as saying he was doing “cartwheels down the street” at what he calls England’s “best-funded devolution deal”. Going on to say as part of a joint statement,
“This is a significant step towards securing important decision-making powers and investment for our region. This would allow us to make decisions that reflect local needs and invest wisely into projects that will make a difference for all our residents, communities and local economy.”
So all in all, a very exciting proposition for our region.
If you and your business are looking to locate in Newcastle and be part of the exciting future it faces then we have available office space. Set in the grounds of historic Fenham hall, our Studio E (1031 sq ft.) space is currently available – Including kitchen, separate tea prep area and parking.
For more details click here: https://www.fenhamhallstudios.com/offices-to–let/studio-e/