Deal to bring in one North East Mayor covering Sunderland is on the table, North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll tells parliamentary committee
The elected North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, told a Parliamentary committee that a devolution deal is on the table with the Government for a Mayor to cover most of the North East.
The North of Tyne Mayor made the comments on Tuesday, July 6 and highlighted that a devolution deal relating to transport funding could see around 55,000 jobs created across the North East
A deal would mean that one elected mayor would cover all seven councils in the region, including Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.
This follows a previous split which saw Newcastle, Northumberland, and North Tyneside break away to form their own mayoral authority in 2018.
The Government is promising major investment in the region’s transport network if South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, and County Durham can be convinced to come back on board with a devolution package.
While speaking to the Parliamentary Committee, an NE1 sign could be seen behind Mayor Jamie Driscoll who said that he would rather see the region “united” by the deal than it just focused on north of the Tyne.
He said: “The LA7 deal is there to be done so I’ve been negotiating with the Government – there’s a deal on the table, not the finer points but the headlines are there.
"It is based on our comprehensive spending review last year which we submitted, which would cost over a period of time £2.8 billion but would create 55,000 jobs and over track record of delivering is there.
"The PAYE alone from those 55,000 jobs would pay the deal back in something like four or five years and that’s on top of all of the savings, as we know, you get more people into work, you get health benefits.
"The deal is a start for the north of Tyne but I would far rather us united as a region.”
The Liberal Democrat Sunderland City Councillor for Hendon and Grangetown, Ciaran Morrissey, has asked the Government to make sure that people on Wearside are consulted before any deal is approved.
Cllr Morrissey commented: “Extra funding for the North East is always welcome but the Government must make sure people in Sunderland are asked whether we want to be governed by – and pay for – a new politician before a Metro Mayor is imposed upon us."