Consultation period for a £4.2billion North East devolution deal reaches its final stages
A public consultation into a £4.2billion devolution deal for the North East has entered its final stages.
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The consultation period launched in January to allow North East residents and businesses to submit their views on the historic deal.
Should the deal go through, it will see a transfer of significant powers and huge investment to the North East from London.
People across the region have been taking part in the eight-week consultation, which closes on Thursday, March 23.
In a joint statement, North East local authority leaders said: “Across the region we have been impressed by how engaged the public and businesses have been.
“As leaders across seven areas we have collaborated to get the deal, that the government is ‘minded to’ agree, and our experiences during the consultation have shown many people getting behind the plans too.
“Colleagues in education, the business world and the voluntary sector can see the huge potential for our region.
“This is an enormous opportunity to have a significantly improved say on how money is spent and how decisions are made for the benefit of the two million people and thousands of businesses in our region.
“Through this deal, the North East will benefit from billions of pounds of investment, and have authority over key decisions around transport, skills, housing, finance and economic development.
“We have also agreed a seat at the negotiating table for deeper devolution through a ‘trailblazer’ agreement, which would provide a further jobs and investment boost to the region.
“It is important to us that anyone who lives or works here is able to share their views. Our thanks go to everyone who has provided their feedback, and we would remind anyone who has not yet responded to do so before the consultation closes.”
The trailblazer’ negotiations are the process of exploring the extension of devolution in England to see what further powers and funding could be devolved beyond what has already been secured.
The £4.2bn package that is currently on the table includes:
- £1.4bn, or £48m a year, to support inclusive economic growth and support for regeneration priorities.
- £1.8bn, or £60m a year, for adult education and skills to meet local skills priorities and improve opportunities for residents.
- £900m for the North East’s transport system, with £563m from the City Regional Sustainable Transport Fund, on top of funding already announced for the buses and Metro system.
- £69m for housing and regeneration, unlocking sites to bring forward new housing and commercial development.
The deal is expected to create 24,000 extra jobs, deliver 70,000 courses per year, and leverage £5bn of private sector investment.
There will not be any changes to existing councils as part of the deal.
When the consultation period ends, a report will be brought back to each council cabinet, and a summary of the consultation responses and any proposed submissions on behalf of the councils will be sent to the UK Government who will consider it before laying an order in Parliament.
If you would like to take part in the consultation, you can do so before March 23. Details of how to take part can be found at https://www.letstalknewcastle.co.uk/consultations/381/participate.
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