Communities Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the progress of the ground-breaking devolution deal in the Tees Valley, and agreed to work with local leaders as they maintain the momentum and use their new powers and investment
The meeting marked almost a year to the day since the Tees Valley devolution deal was signed – handing over powers from Westminster over significant issues including transport, training and regeneration.
This includes the recent transfer of £15m of new money to the area through the deal – the first of payments from a total of £450m due over the next 30 years.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Just 12 months ago the people of the Tees Valley came forward with a devolution deal that is already making a real difference to local people’s lives.
“From control over transport, to millions of pounds of new money this deal hands significant powers away from Whitehall to people who know the area best and know what the area needs most.
“It was good to meet with the local leaders today and hear their latest proposals for how they will use these new powers to further benefit of the people of Tees Valley.”
At the meeting, the next steps of the deal were also discussed including:
• a further application for financial assistance through a dedicated Local Growth Fund (the area has already received nearly £100m through this fund)
• the Chancellor’s guarantee on European funding, meaning that the programme can now proceed with confidence.
• The opportunities for further devolution over time and for the reform of public services to be led by Tees Valley.
Dave Budd, chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Mayor of Middlesbrough, said: “This meeting was an opportunity to take stock of progress with the new Secretary of State, and reaffirm our collective commitment to making further progress.
“Tees Valley can be a flagship of successful devolution, and local leaders are determined to make a difference to bring good quality jobs and investment to our area.”
Chair of the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, Paul Booth, added: “Tees Valley’s economic strengths can make a major contribution to the UK’s Industrial Strategy, with opportunities to bring forward investable propositions to transform our economy and meet the industrial challenges ahead. We will use our devolved powers and resources to strengthen the resilience of the local and the national economy.”
As part of efforts to deliver an economy that works for everyone and every part of the country, the Government is devolving wide-ranging powers directly from Whitehall to local people who know their area best.
In return, the Government requires that strong governance arrangements are in place to ensure local leaders are directly accountable to the people they serve. In May 2017, voters in the Tees Valley will get their first chance to vote for a mayor for the region, to be directly accountable for the additional funding and powers that the devolution deal comes with.
This is one of nine ground-breaking devolution deals with areas all across the country, from the Tees Valley and Liverpool City Region in the Northern Powerhouse, to Cornwall in the rural South.
Attending the meeting with Sajid Javid were David Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough, Cllr Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland, Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, Leader of Hartlepool, Cllr Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington, Cllr Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees, Paul Booth, Chair, Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership; and Andrew Lewis, Managing Director, Tees Valley Combined Authority.