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North of Tyne devolution vote deferred

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Northern leaders have deferred a vote on proposals surrounding the North of Tyne devolution deal at the last minute.

Members were expected to vote yesterday on proposals that would pave the way for a North of Tyne devolution deal. However, an extraordinary meeting of the leadership board for the North East CA is now expected to take place on next Tuesday instead.

In a statement, a North East CA spokesperson said the reason for the deferral was to “allow additional time for the seven local authorities to finalise detailed proposals for joint working in the future”.

Newcastle City Council, Northumberland CC and North Tyneside Council agreed in December to withdraw from the existing North East CA and establish a new North of Tyne mayoral combined authority, having agreed a “minded to” devolution deal with the government in November.

A spokesperson for the three authorities involved in the deal said: “We look forward to the NECA leadership board meeting to consider the changes needed to create a North of Tyne Combined Authority, opening the way for new powers and over £600m of new funding to flow to the region.”

Council leaders say the deal will bring additional funding over the next 30 years and will bring immediate local benefits for education, skills and economic growth.

The North East deal - which also included Durham CC, Gateshead Council, South Tyneside MBC and Sunderland City Council - collapsed in 2016 after those councils rejected it, citing concerns over the replacement of EU funding post-Brexit. Confusion over the government’s position on the requirement for an elected mayor at that time also fostered opposition to the deal amongst backbench councillors.

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