Today our ‘trailblazer’ deal with government was announced which brings even more devolved power and local decision making to the North East.

When we, as a group of Council Leaders, negotiated the original devolution deal we wanted to ensure we secured the right to go further on devolved powers.

This bespoke deal is custom made for our communities and while we remain ambitious for the region we are pleased this gives more power to focus on local priorities.

Today’s announcement will help us to do more and is rightful recognition that we are better placed than those in Whitehall to identify the priorities for our region.

This is on top of the original devolution deal for the North East, which we have already made great progress with delivering local priorities even before the mayor is elected in May. We are already bringing investment forward for a range of schemes that benefit the whole region.

The additional trailblazer deal recognises the region’s unique geography, with a mixture of urban, rural, and coastal communities.

Highlights include:

  • A £25m investment to support the development of the Riverside Sunderland site along with creation of a ‘Growth Zone’ to attract investment.
  • Investment of £10m to accelerate progress on a Health Innovation Zone – including the Health Innovation Neighbourhood and Forth Yards sites in Newcastle.
  • Support for the region’s rural and coastal economy – including a new Taskforce to support biodiversity and the natural environment.
  • £58m of funding brought forward to cover the maintenance and renewal of the Tyne and Wear Metro system for the next two years.
  • A single funding pot for housing and regeneration, more influence over affordable housing with a commitment to a future single government department style financial settlement.
  • Creation of a formal rail board with the government and rail industry to jointly develop plans for improvements to rail infrastructure and services in the region.
  • Support for plans to develop the expansion of the “Pop” card onto local rail services.
  • More local responsibility for developing and delivering adult education, skills and careers advice and working in partnership with Department for Work and Pensions to improve how people get into work.
  • More control over delivering affordable homes for residents, in partnership with Homes England.
  • A North East Strategic Energy Board which will coordinate energy supply and demand and promote growth in the offshore wind sector.
  • Development of a blueprint to support growth of the creative industries, heritage, sport and the visitor economy, and new opportunities to attract additional investment.
  • The Government will also work to address barriers to growth at the region’s ports and airport – the Green Superport – including on policy areas like grid infrastructure capacity and developing an industry-leading skills pipeline.

You can read the full deal here.

We look forward to continuing to work together with the new mayor to implement the ambitious devolution deals which we have negotiated.

Working together with you as important partners we are committed to championing the full potential of our region.