An elected Mayor for the Tees Valley has moved closer to reality with the publication of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (Election of Mayor) Order 2016.
The five Tees Valley leaders and Mayor and the chair of the LEP signed an “in principle” devolution agreement with the Government last October and this was approved by each of the councils.
The deal itself is worth £450m over 30 years, equivalent to an additional £15m a year, and provides for the transfer of significant powers for employment and skills, transport, planning and investment from central government to the Tees Valley.
A new investment fund will be created to deliver a programme of investment in the region over the 30-year period, which will include a devolved and consolidated transport budget.
The deal also includes a comprehensive review and redesign of the education, skills and employment support system.
The Tees Valley will now introduce a directly elected city region Mayor who will work alongside the Tees Valley Combined Authority to provide leadership and be directly accountable to the electorate.
The first election for a Mayor is set to take place on 4th May 2017, with the second election on the normal election day in 2020. Subsequent elections will take place on the normal election day every fourth year thereafter.
This is the first stage of a two stage process to transform the Combined Authority into a mayoral Combined Authority. Under the Election of Mayor order, there are no powers or functions granted to the Mayor. The Mayor will not have any powers or functions unless and until the second stage of the legislative process is completed
The powers of the Mayor are yet to be agreed, and will be subject to consultation over the coming months.
There will then be a further decision by the constituent authorities and the Combined Authority about how the Mayor will operate within the mayoral Combined Authority by the end of October 2016.
The order will then be laid in Parliament and this second stage of the legislative process will be completed by the end of December 2016.
Middlesbrough Mayor David Budd, chair of the Combined Authority, said: “A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make devolution a reality and it places the Tees Valley at the forefront.
“The deal for Tees Valley means far more control locally to enable us to maximise the vast potential of our area.
“It gives us a lot more power to spend in the areas we know we need to be spending in.
“It will enable us to create a lot more jobs than would have been possible otherwise and ensure that the best interests of Tees Valley and its people are served.”