Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced the government has decided to end discussions on plans for the devolution of the north east of England. In November, the North East Combined Authority (NECA) signed a proposed devolution agreement with the Government to drive economic growth and bring jobs and investment to the north east. The devolution agreement would have given the local authorities in NECA through an elected mayor to gain more power over the region’s transport including the potential franchising of bus services.
Speaking in response to the announcement, Cllr Paul Watson, Chair of the North East Combined Authority, said, ‘It is very disappointing that the Government has chosen to end current discussions over North East devolution in this way. Throughout this process, all of the seven council leaders in the North East have repeatedly and clearly stated their commitment to devolution and to creating a stronger regional economy. And, although we were not able to reach a majority agreement to proceed to public consultation at this present time, we have reaffirmed our commitment to working together with the Government to achieve the right devolution deal for our region.’