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North of Tyne devo deal moves step closer

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Council leaders in the North East of England voted in favour of creating a combined authority covering Newcastle city, Northumberland CC and North Tyneside concils on Thursday.

All but one member of the leadership board for the North East CA voted in favour of the North of Tyne devolution deal.

Andrew Hodgson, chair of the North East LEP, said: “I welcome today’s decision by the North East Combined Authority Leadership Board to allow the three authorities North of Tyne to progress their devolution plans.

“Taking local control over finance and powers for areas such as housing, skills and transport is positive and can only help our growth.”

Under the new agreement, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland will be removed from the North East CA boundaries and placed in a new mayoral combined authority with new powers and funding.

Thursday’s vote was deferred from the week previous in order to allow more time for leaders to read the proposals.

The deal for North of the Tyne was first announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in the autumn Budget and was followed by a “minded to” statement from the government on 24 November 2017.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones said in November: “This historic deal, including £600m of government investment is yet another example of how we are backing the north. It will bolster the local economy in the North of Tyne and generate thousands of new jobs.”

Martin Gannon (Lab) of Gateshead Council abstained from the vote on Thursday, reportedly because the devolved powers do not go far enough.

Cllr Gannon told the Newcastle Chronicle: “There was nothing substantial which made us want to be part of it, so therefore we abstained. The real major functions and powers which exist in the region in terms of transport and economic development won’t go to the North of Tyne authority.”

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