AS the leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes publicly declared at its inaugural meeting, a new authority for the North-East has ‘unashamedly’ branded itself the ‘Home of Ambition.’

The mood as leaders of the North of Tyne Combined Authority gathered at Morpeth Town Hall for the first time was overwhelmingly positive, with members declaring the meeting a ‘landmark’ for the region.

The three councils of Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle agreed to break away from the North East Combined Authority and form the new mayor-led authority after striking a deal with the Government.

While labelled as a major deal for the region, confusion still reigns over what the authority will actually bring to the table.

A key feature is that additional decision-making powers will be devolved from Westminster, meaning policies can be implemented faster. Examples of this include transport, housing and tourism.

To achieve its vision of providing a more ‘dynamic and inclusive economy’ for the area, it will receive an extra £600m from the Government over a 30-year period. There will also be local control of a £23m annual budget for adult education, while projects will be introduced to support an inclusive education system for three to 18-year-olds.

The authority will be able to work closer with central government to boost trade and investment in the region.

A joint committee will be formed to manage public transport across the North-East; one of its first pledges is to resurrect the disused Ashington, Blyth and Tyne railway line.

A cabinet has been formed of two members from each constituent council, each responsible for a separate portfolio.

l Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson – place productivity; responsible for rural growth, culture and tourism and transport.

l Northumberland County Council deputy leader Wayne Daley – education and skills; responsible for early years, schools, higher education and adult education.

l North Tyneside elected mayor Norma Redfearn CBE – housing and land; responsible for housing acceleration and land assembly and development.

l North Tyneside Council deputy mayor Coun. Bruce Pickard – economic growth; responsible for the investment programme, regeneration and access to financial incentives.

l Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes – business competitiveness; responsible for business support and scale up and research and development.

l Newcastle City Council deputy leader Joyce McCarty – inclusive growth; responsible for social mobility and inclusion and employment support.

During its inaugural meeting, early objectives were revealed to provide an investment fund to attract foreign and UK businesses to invest and create jobs in the North of Tyne area; a growth fund supporting rural communities to thrive; a project to help young people gain STEM and digital skills and a new partnership to help social housing tenants and people who provide care to get back into work.

A mayor will be elected by the public in May to lead the authority. Coun. Redfearn will chair the cabinet until an interim mayor is appointed in the coming weeks.