A devolution deal for the North of Tyne is hoped to provide a boost to the construction of new homes in the region.
The deal, signed and sealed at the beginning of November, brings with it the prospect of over £600 million of government investment for the region over the next 30 years.
Furthermore, the creation of this latest combined authority is expected to generate £1.1 billion for the local economy, 10,000 new jobs, and drive over £2.1 billion of private sector investment.
North of Tyne covers and area north of the river Tyne and the deal covers three authorities — Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland councils.
An election for a North of Tyne metro mayor is planned for May 2019.
In anticipation of the devolution deal, in July this year, the three North of Tyne authorities convened a new Housing & Land Board, chaired by Sir Edward Lister of Homes England, to discuss how to accelerate housebuilding in the region. The three councils committed to an increase from 1,800 to 3,000 new homes per year up to 2032.
“[The deal] marks a significant day in the North’s devolution journey. We’ve begun the work of uniting behind a single voice and taking control of our future,” said Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council.
“We still have much more to do in bringing further powers and decision making back to people here, but this devolution deal marks a big step forward in our plans to create more and better jobs across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
“Now we need to get on with the task at hand, investing in our region and showing the nation and beyond why this is such a great place to live, work and visit.”
North Tyneside’s elected mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said the signing of the Parliamentary Order that brought the deal into effect marked a “historic day for the region”.
“The North of Tyne area already boasts one of the fastest growing economies and job rates anywhere in the UK and this will offer us greater opportunities to grow and develop,” she added.
“We have shown that we are big enough and bold enough to carve our own destiny and devolution puts us in a very strong position to build on our strengths and achieve great things for all of our businesses and residents long into the future.”
Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, added: “So much work has gone into securing the best deal for the North of Tyne and I’m delighted we can now move forward with the real business of driving the region’s economic growth.
“We’re working on a number of exciting and transformative schemes which will benefit millions of people in the region now, as well as future generations, and we are all excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Andrew Hodgson, chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “The North East LEP welcomes the new powers, funding and opportunities that devolution brings to the North East. We look forward to working with colleagues in the new North of Tyne authority as we collectively continue making the North East a more prosperous place for our businesses and residents. Here at the North East LEP we will continue to advocate for the region as a whole and provide strong, collaborative leadership to grow the North East economy through an effective partnership with the public, private, education and third sectors.”
Northern Powerhouse minister, Jake Berry MP called the deal a “landmark moment” for the region.
“The North of Tyne devolution deal is further proof that we’re witnessing a new golden era for the North East as the combined authority uses this unprecedented investment to improve public services, create new jobs and new economic opportunities,” he added.
“We’re transferring funding and decision making away from Westminster and placing them directly into the hands of local people, allowing them to have a real say over their future.”
The North of Tyne’s inaugural cabinet meeting takes place this week on Thursday, 8 November at Morpeth Town Hall. The meeting will agree the roles and responsibilities of members, agree a timetable for the selection of an interim mayor ahead of next year’s election, and set the budget for 2018/19.
The cabinet will also sign-off the North of Tyne’s economic vision, titled Home of Ambition, a statement which will underpin and guide the authority’s ambitions and investment priorities over the coming years.