• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

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Think Tank and business leaders call on Council Leaders to “deliver on devolution promise”

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 08.21.39The North East could be “left behind” if Council Leaders fail to deliver on a devolution deal worth £30m every year to the region.

The agreement will guarantee £30m a year for the region to spend, in addition to being given control of a £3.4bn pool of investment cash. The North East will also get new powers covering employment and skills, transport and planning and business activity to drive economic growth and create more jobs.

North East businesswoman, Jacqui Miller MBE, who sits on the Advisory Board of the North East’s only Think Tank, Policy North – has led the calls for the deal to be completed. Jacqui Miller is a Director of North East-based Miller International, and was awarded an MBE for services to industry and international trade in 2013.

Mrs Miller said “We now have the new government in place and have already lost too much time in getting more funding and power for the North East. We need the region’s Council Leaders to put politics to one side and now get on with delivering the deal they signed months ago. We cannot continue to risk being left behind.

It is vital to our future economic success as a region that we secure these devolved powers. Devolution means we will be able to make the big decisions about our future.

In fact, post Brexit, it is now more important than ever to make the case that the North East is open for business, and that we want more power and investment, not less.

It’s not just London we are now competing with, the leaders of Manchester, Liverpool, London and Teesside have fully signed up to devolution deals and are actively championing more investment and more power in their areas. In terms of jobs and investment, we literally cannot afford for the North East’s Council Leaders to let this drag on any longer.”

The North East’s six Council Leaders officially signed the region’s devolution deal in May, but since then there has been little progress.  Gateshead Council was the only Council to opt out of the deal.
The new Communities secretary, Sajid Javid and the Minister with responsibility for Devolution, Andrew Percy have both reinforced the Government’s commitment to the devolution agenda since their appointments.

Mr Sajid included devolution as one of his top three priorities in his new role as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Speaking after his appointment, Mr Javid said “My priorities are to build more homes and increase landownership, devolve power to local areas, and help communities deliver excellent public services.”

Andrew Percy MP, who now has responsibility for the Northern Powerhouse agenda following the Government reshuffle has said he expects that all 11 areas with an agreed devolution deal to implement those deals.

Commenting, Chairman of Policy North and North East entrepreneur, Stephen Purvis said “The message from the business community and those creating jobs for our region is clear, we need to implement this devolution deal sooner rather than later. Longer term we hope to secure even more power and investment but given Manchester is already on its third round of devolution, it is vital the North East at least takes this first step. We cannot risk being left behind, and that is a real risk.”

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