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Tees names city region price

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Tees Valley councils will not push to become one of the first statutory city regions without promises of new powers, the outgoing chief executive of Middlesbrough Council has warned.

The Tees Valley Unlimited partnership has been tipped to become one of the first statutory economic prosperity boards (EPBs) to be unveiled in the Budget.

The partnership - one of the first six to sign a multi-area agreement last summer - wanted more control over how central government spends its money within the sub-region.

But negotiations between central government and the councils revealed Whitehall concerns about the robustness of the MAA’s accountability arrangements (LGC - 04/12/08).

Jan Richmond, who announced her resignation from Middlesbrough last week, said the sub-region’s councils had been “very disappointed” not to have won more of the flexibilities promised in the MAA.

She said while an EPB could deliver benefits, Whitehall needed to devolve power.

“We want to know what we are going to get back in return and we want to get the flexibilities set down on the record before we agree to it.”

The minutes of the latest meeting of the Tees Valley Unlimited executive backed up her concerns. It said: “There seems little point in going down a statutory framework unless there is some real power devolved.”

Ms Richmond said she was resigning from Middlesbrough after more than four years as chief to pursue other interests.

Meanwhile, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council chief Graham Burgess has said the Pennine Lancashire MAA councils have registered a bid to become a statutory city region.

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