Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

What Now for Gateshead as the Deal Is Done?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

What Now for Gateshead as the Deal Is Done?

Article excerpt

In March members of Gateshead Council voted to reject a devolution deal for the North East.

The agreement, which is set to be worth PS3.4bn in funding for the North East Combined Authority, relies on six out of seven of the authorities backing the deal.

Legal advice handed to the North East Combined Authority (NECA), says Gateshead will not be entitled to a penny in funding.

Gateshead residents' say on the Tyne and Wear Metro could be impacted but at this stage it is not yet clear how, and residents could be asked to pay towards the Tyne Tunnel - despite the route not passing through the borough.

Following the emergence of a legal document we take a look at what devolution would mean for the region and how legal advice could impact on Gateshead.

What did the councils vote for when deciding on the devolution deal? The deal would see an extra PS30m a year for the region to spend, as well as being given control of a PS3.4bn pot of cash. But as part of the offering, the North East would have to have a directly-elected Mayor. The region would also get new powers covering employment and skills, transport and planning and business activity - all intended to drive economic growth.

What does that mean for Gateshead? Opting out of devolution means Gateshead missing out on billions of pounds and having less say in the region. They would be forced to leave the North East Combined Authority.

So will Gateshead residents get a vote for the new mayor next year? No. Gateshead residents will have no say at all in the identity of the mayor.

What will happen with the way transport is run? The North East mayor will take control of the region's budget for transport and take responsibility for franchised bus services. They will also share control of franchised rail services through regional transport authority Rail North, helping create new "smart" tickets which work on all forms of public transport across the whole of the North. …

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