Published: Thursday, 29th October 2015
Chancellor George Osborne has signed two more draft devolution deals. These involve the North East Combined Authority and the shadow Tees Valley Combined Authority.
Both combined authorities will choose a directly elected mayor in 2017. The deals will only go ahead if the Government’s Cities and Local Government bill, now at committee stage in the Commons is passed.
The North East region is set to receive £30m a year over the next 30 years. Tees Valley is due to receive some £15m a year over the same period. The deals will see transport, strategic planning and employment and skills powers transferred from Whitehall to each region.
The North East Combined Authority involves seven local authorities: County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland. The draft Tees Valley Combined Authority consists of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-On-Tees.
Under last week’s agreement the North East Combined Authority will take responsibility for a devolved and consolidated transport budget, with a multi-year settlement to be agreed at the Spending Review. It will also have responsibility for franchised bus services and, through Rail North, franchised rail services, contributing to the delivery of smart and integrated ticketing across the North East.
In addition it will have powers over strategic planning, including the responsibility to create a North East Planning Development Framework and to chair a new North East Land Commission to release land for development.
In the case of the yet to be established Tees Valley Combined Authority it will be given responsibility devolved from government for a consolidated transport budget, with a multi-year settlement to be agreed at the Spending Review.
Also involved will be the creation of new Mayoral Development Corporations. The new Mayor will head up a land commission to examine what publicly owned land and other key strategic sites should be vested in the development corporations.