Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Deal Leaves Us Short-Changed; MP POINTS OUT REGION WILL GET LESS FUNDING THAN OTHERS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Deal Leaves Us Short-Changed; MP POINTS OUT REGION WILL GET LESS FUNDING THAN OTHERS

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com @jonwalker121

AS the North East presses ahead with plans for a regional mayor and council, one MP has launched an angry attack on the plans in the House of Commons.

And the Labour MP, Dave Anderson, highlighted a little-noticed fact - that the North East Combined Authority is due to get far less funding than many other parts of the country.

After months of wrangling, council leaders representing Newcastle, Durham, Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Sunderland have agreed to create a combined authority led by a mayor, to be elected in May 2017. Gateshead rejected the devolution plan.

The plan is backed by Chancellor George Osborne, and the Treasury has promised the North East Combined Authority will receive funding of PS30m over 30 years to help pay for major infrastructure schemes such as transport improvements.

But it is fiercely opposed by many of the region's MPs and Mr Anderson, who represents Blaydon, pointed out that the North East will actually get less money than other areas, once the size of its population is taken into account.

Funding for the North East Combined Authority, which serves two million people, comes to PS15 per person each year. But despite its name, the new authority will not cover the whole of the North East region. Teesside councils are forming their own Tees Valley Combined Authority, which serves a much smaller population of 700,000 people and will get PS15 million a year - which comes to PS23 per person.

The figures have been published in a report by the National Audit Office, the official spending watchdog.

Funding for the Sheffield City Region authority, which has signed a similar deal with the Government, is PS22 a year per person. A new Liverpool City Region authority is to receive PS20 per year per person. And a new West of England combined authority is to receive PS27 per year per person.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Anderson condemned the "ludicrous programme of English devolution".

He said: "It is a farce, it is a joke, but sadly, it is deadly serious. …

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