Plans to bring billions of pounds and more power to the North East

Plans to bring billions of pounds and more power to the North East have progressed, with Government releasing a press notice outlining a deal on the table for the seven local authorities in the North East including County Durham.

The deal, which is subject to a governance review and public consultation, offers a potential £4.2bn of investment into the region,

It is expected to create 24,000 extra jobs, deliver 70,000 courses per year to give people the skills to get good jobs, and leverage £5.0 billion of private sector investment. 

A public consultation will take place from early 2023 on the new arrangements which the government have confirmed they are 'minded to' approve.
It is expected a Mayoral election would take place in May 2024 and a new authority formed.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, said: "Our aim has always been to seek the best possible devolution deal for the people of County Durham.

"It was right that we gave proper consideration to a county deal when the government invited us to discuss the proposal. However, I believe it was clear from these discussions that for County Durham, the best option was to join a wider, regional deal.

"An LA7 deal will give us access to more funding, additional powers and more opportunity for deeper devolution. By becoming a part of the fourth largest devolution deal in the country, we will also have greater influence at a national level.

"There will be more flexibility as to how money can be spent and more opportunity for private investment.

"We have a proven track record of working closely with the other councils and I am confident that we can continue and build on that work to ensure that this deal brings opportunities for County Durham and the region as a whole."

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: "I'm proud to have agreed a historic new devolution deal with the North East that gives local leaders more power, more money, and an even greater say on how their areas are run.
"Devolution is all about letting leaders who live and breathe the region decide what is in their best interests, for their people and for their businesses.
"A new mayor will ensure local priorities in the North East are at the heart of decision-making, while our billion-pound funding boost will provide the financial certainty needed to level up the area right now and for years to come."
Lucy Winskell OBE, Chair North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "This devolution deal is a hugely positive move for the region and marks a step change in our levelling up journey.  The region has come together and is committed to seeing the North East succeed. 
"The development heralds new funding and decision-making powers that will unlock the creation of more and better jobs, allow us to seize new opportunities, address issues that are holding us back and critically, to compete where we have strengths on a national, sectoral and global stage, and most importantly to do this in partnership. 
"As things progress, the North East LEP will come together with the new mayoral combined authority, allowing for a co-ordinated approach with one strong voice and a laser focus on delivery of everything this proud region and its diverse communities need to thrive."

 Full details of the deal can be found on the Government website.