THE leader of Northumberland County Council is committed to securing a devolution deal which could see the election of a North of Tyne mayor.
Coun. Peter Jackson has revealed that the authority is continuing partnership work with local authorities in Newcastle and North Tyneside in the hope of forming a North of Tyne Combined Authority.
“I am happy to reconfirm that the Conservative group in Northumberland is committed to securing a devolution deal for the county and working with other local authorities to secure any extra Government funding available,” he said.
“We see it as crucial in ensuring we can decide our own destiny by working to improve levels of skills and investment.
“We’re working very hard with other local authorities in the North-East to come to a very good deal with the UK Government.”
He said timescales for securing agreements were impossible to predict and that the negotiations were not exclusive to the three authorities currently involved.
“I would actively welcome input from other local authorities in the region,” he added.
The benefits of the move for the county could include a Northumberland investment fund, which Coun. Jackson said he hoped would bring in extra business development opportunities.
“That would include quite a large rural element, with projects like The Sill the type of thing we would be looking to encourage,” he explained.
“We would also be looking to use it provide more, higher quality jobs, and to boost the skills that residents have by improving the educational offer.
“Finally, there’s no doubt we’re in need of some really big improvements to our transport network in Northumberland - that includes roads, rail and airport access.”
An elected mayor would serve residents of Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tynedale with the aim of securing extra central Government funding by mirroring devolution deals already struck in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City and the West Midlands.