Plan for Sunderland to form supercouncil with North East neigbours

Lord Adonis

Lord Adonis

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SUNDERLAND City Council bosses will on Monday consider plans to create a new North East supercouncil to oversee the region’s economic growth.

All local authorities in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland – will hold simultaneous cabinet meetings to discuss the plan laid out in Lord Adonis’s North East Independent Economic Review.

The Adonis report recommended setting up a Combined Authority – to be called the North East Leadership Board.

It would take over region-wide responsibilty for key economic areas such as skills, transport and inward investment.

If all seven councils give the plans the thumbs-up, a formal proposal will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Department for Communities and Local Government to establish of the North East Leadership Board.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “The Combined Authority will position the North East strongly to receive devolved powers and funding from Government in key areas such as economic development, transport and skills, and so boost the area’s growth and productivity.

“The seven local authorities already work together effectively across boundaries to align policies.

“The combined authority will be a statutory organisation, with a model for governance customised to fit the specific priorities and challenges of the North East LEP area.

“It means there will be more strategic thinking, delivery and implementation in those sectors which require the impact of a larger footprint, such as tourism, from the shared vision of the seven local authorities collaborating together.”

The Combined Authority will not replace the individual councils, which will continue to exercise responsibilty for the likes of schools, highways and refuse.

LEP chairman Paul Woolston said: “The formation of the combined authority represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the delivery of economic development in the North East.

“Working with strategic partners from business, education, finance and innovation as part of the LEP, the combined authority will be one of the most important arguments for greater, deeper and faster devolution of key policy and funding levers to the North East.”