top of page
  • Durham OnAir

County Durham Councillors to discuss devolution deal


Councillors in County Durham are to be asked to endorse proposals for a North East devolution deal which would bring £4.2 billion of investment to the region over the next 30

years.


Members of Durham County Council’s Cabinet will next week hear that with councils in

County Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, Northumberland and North and

South Tyneside working together, the deal would create one of the largest combined

authorities in the country.


The new body would have access to millions of pounds of additional funding and direct

control over how it is invested in the region. It would be chaired by an elected mayor, with

no changes to the governance or provision of services in the existing local authorities.

Elections for the new mayor would take place next year.


Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “The proposed deal would

see a significant shift of powers, funding and responsibility from central government to our

region. Working alongside our colleagues in the other authorities, it would allow us to

pursue our ambitions for the growth of our area and the wider region, which can only

benefit everyone who lives in County Durham and the wider north east.”


In February 2022, the government published the Levelling Up White Paper, setting out a

framework for devolution and, for the first time, offering the option for standalone county

deals.


As well as identifying the potential for an extended Mayoral Combined Authority for the

North East, the paper invited County Durham to enter into discussions with Government

regarding a potential county deal.


Following these discussions, it became apparent that a county deal did not offer the best

deal for the people of County Durham, and it was agreed that County Durham should

instead enter into discussions to become part of the wider regional deal.


Cllr Hopgood added: “Our aim has always been to seek the best possible devolution deal

for the people of County Durham.


“It was right that we gave proper consideration to a county deal when the government

invited us to discuss the proposal. However, we believe it was clear from these

discussions that for County Durham, the best option was to join a wider, regional deal.

“An LA7 deal will give us access to more funding and additional powers and more

opportunity for deeper devolution. By becoming a part of the fourth largest devolution deal

in the country, we will also have greater influence at a national level.


“There will also be more flexibility as to how money can be spent and more opportunity for

private investment.


“We have a proven track record of working closely with the other councils and I am

confident that we can continue and build on that work to ensure that this deal brings

opportunities for County Durham and the region as a whole.”


By joining the regional deal, County Durham will have access to £120 million more in

funding than it would have through a standalone county deal, while economic estimates

suggest that 6,500 new jobs could be created in Durham within a LA7 deal – 2,000 more

than in a county deal.


It is also estimated that the LA7 deal will attract £1.34bn private sector investment into the

county, some £400m more than that estimated in a county deal.


For the region as a whole, the deal offers a potential £4.2bn of investment, made up of

elements including:


  •  An investment fund of £1.4bn, or £48m a year, to support inclusive economic growth and support our regeneration priorities

  •  An indicative budget of around £1.8bn, or £60m a year, for adult education and skills – to meet local skills priorities and improve opportunities for residents

  •  A £900m package of investment to transform our transport system, with £563m from the City Regional Sustainable Transport Fund, on top of funding already announced for our buses and metro system

  •  £69m of investment in housing and regeneration, unlocking sites to bring forward new housing and commercial development


If all seven councils agree to the deal ‘in principle’, proposals on how the new authority

would work would be developed, with members of the public then being given the chance

to have their say on the plans during a regionwide consultation.

Comentarios


bottom of page