Proposed North East Devolution Deal Backed by Regional Chamber

The North East England Chamber of Commerce has written to the region’s seven local authorities to back the planned North East Mayoral Combined Authority (NEMCA) and call for it to have a strong business voice. The letter supports the consultation on the devolution deal for the North East and identifies a number of priorities for the mayoral authority if it gets the go-ahead.

The proposed devolution deal would bring around £4.2bn of investment to the North East and is expected to help create 17,500 new jobs. The North East LEP would become part of the combined authority if the deal went through, offering a voice for the business sector in decisions made in future.

In its letter, the Chamber has reiterated its support for more local decision making, and calls for investment in transport and skills to be prioritised.

Chamber chief executive John McCabe said: “Our members are clear that broader, deeper devolution in the North will benefit the whole of the region, through stronger institutions, greater collaboration, and more powers to drive stronger, fairer growth. On behalf of our membership, we are pleased to provide these comments in support of that shared goal.”

He added: “The devolution deal provides the opportunity for the North East to have control over the foundations of future growth, and businesses are committed to playing their role in driving this growth. Collaboration and communication with businesses and local people will enable the combined authority to understand the needs of communities, and Chamber members look forward to engaging with the new authority.”

The proposed devolution deal would expand the current North of Tyne arrangements to cover Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham. The mayoral authority would cover an area with a population of around two million, and would make decisions in areas such as transport, skills, housing, finance and economic development.

The current timetable of the mayoral process envisages a election taking place next year and a new combined authority covering the seven local authority areas being formed.

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