Discussions with government about a breakaway devolution deal for three councils in the North East have begun.
LGC understands the leaders of Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, and Northumberland CC are hoping to secure a deal in time to be announced in the Autumn Statement on 23 November.
The three leaders are determined to rescue something from the proposed devolution deal for the North East, which they all supported as it collapsed earlier this month.
LGC reported last week how the North East Combined Authority’s chair Paul Watson (Lab), who is also leader of Sunderland City Council, would “not stand in the way” should a formal breakaway devolution bid emerge.
LGC understands discussions with government have not yet got on to the topic of whether a directly elected mayor will be required. However, the Department for Communities & Local Government has indicated it is only likely to consider a devolution bid which includes proposals for strong governance, such as a mayor.
A deal for the core city of Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland would cover a population of 808,000 people. That is similar to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (830,000) and West of England (896,000), both of which have agreed mayoral devolution deals in principle.