The reality of the North East Council leaders failure to secure a devolution deal is hitting home as neighbouring Tees Valley is handed £15m in devolution funding while the rest of the region missed out.
While the North East’s devolution deal collapsed last month, it is almost a year since the Tees Valley Combined Authority signed a £450m devolution deal, with the first £15m of funding handed over this month.
The think tank Policy North said the payment highlighted just how much the rest of the North East was missing out on.
Policy North Chairman Stephen Purvis said “his transfer of funding brings home the the failure of the North East Combined Authority to secure a devolution deal. That political in fighting is now starting to hit our local economy as the rest of the country moves forward with devolution. The Tees Valley, like many areas is now starting to deliver on their plans to create good-quality jobs and investment. However here in the North East our Council Leaders cut us off from the £900m of devolution funding. Sadly those chickens are now coming home to roost”
In a report for the Policy North think tank last month, North East business leader David Harrison warned that the “shameful” failure of North East council leaders to agree a devolution deal meant the region would struggle to obtain funding for new infrastructure.
Mr Harrison said “Last year the North East saw by far the biggest decline of any region in the number of businesses based within its boundaries. A 10 percent drop in this region against a five and eight percent rise in the North West and Yorkshire respectively is concerning. I wonder how many of the departed enterprises upped sticks in search of better connected places to do business. The North East is desperate for a new economic vision and the failure of our local councils to agree a devolution deal is depressing. The opportunity to set our own course with serious cash to spend as we decide has been squandered.”
Council Leaders from the Tees Valley met with Communities Sectary Sajid Javid last week, where he guaranteed that the Tees Valley will be compensated for any loss of EU funding and held disccions over further new funding allocations.
Mr Javid said: “Just 12 months ago the people of the Tees Valley came forward with a devolution deal that is already making a real difference to local people’s lives. From control over transport, to millions of pounds of new money this deal hands significant powers away from Whitehall to people who know the area best and know what the area needs most.”