Sunderland Tories voice fears over ‘super council’ plan

Coun. Robert Oliver
Coun. Robert Oliver
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CONSERVATIVE council group leader Robert Oliver has spoken out over plans for a combined authority in Sunderland.

The St Chad’s ward councillor said that concerns must be addressed before the North East Enterprise Partnership is implemented in Sunderland, despite the possibility the combined authority could achieve more in terms of economic prosperity in the region.

He said: “More is likely to be achieved with the involvement of all the major political parties in the region instead of it being run as a Labour monopoly with little in the way of opposition scrutiny. But a combined authority could end up being remote from the people it is intended to serve, and who are paying for it through their taxes, so it is important that all political parties have a role to play.”

He added that it was also important for the public to be behind any decision to combine North-East councils.

At a cabinet meeting last week, it was decided that the final decision on whether the city was to be involved in a combined authority – which would include Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland – will be made by leader of the city council Paul Watson, and chief executive of the council, Dave Smith.

They will file a response to the Secretary of the State by January 2.