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THE Chancellor has been urged to sign off a new trailblazer devolution deal for the North East in his Spring Budget.

Mayoral candidate Kim McGuinness has called on Jeremy Hunt to end the two-tier devolution system that has left the North East playing catch up to the likes of Manchester and London.

She has written to the Chancellor calling for a raft of devolution measures needed to turbocharge the North East economy and help end child poverty in the region.

Top of these measures is a trailblazer devolution deal, currently being negotiated by the region’s seven council leaders.

Such a deal would hand the region a lump sum of funding similar to that enjoyed by a Whitehall department, rather than individual grants controlled decided after a bidding process to Government.

Kim has also directly lobbied the Chancellor to include in any devolution deal funds for the new film and television studios in Sunderland, after holding face to face talks with developers Fullwell 73 and industry leaders in support of Sunderland Council’s work.

But the Labour mayoral candidate has also urged the Chancellor to be bolder in the devolution offer to UK regions including:



·      Devolution of Homes England, Sport England and Arts Council funds to the regions and an end to the days of unelected quangos picking winners and losers in everything from local football clubs to museums and galleries.

·      Devolution of Jobcentre powers so the North East can use local knowledge to target employment support.

·      Train stations stripped from rail franchisees and handed to mayors and councils, saving ticket stations and helping co-ordinate city-centre investments.

·      Real powers to oversee northern rail services, including the power for mayors to come together and kick out failing operators such as Transpennine Express.

·      A Tourism Levy so that businesses can work together to raise money for big-scale events.


Kim said: “The Chancellor’s budget is a chance to bring real devolution to the entire North East. Right now we have to go cap in hand every time our region needs investment, and every time we do this we have to hope officials who live and work in London will agree with our North East ambitions.

“It is time people in the North East had control of their own decision-making. I’m calling on the Chancellor to end the days of London’s centralised control and begin the process of real devolution.

“The first step towards that is to end the days of the North East been behind Manchester and others when it comes to devolution. Hand our region real powers and let us grow.”

Kim added: “In just the last year of Labour’s regional development agencies the North East had more than £300m to invest in local job creation -  we get a fraction of that now.

“The current devolution deal given to the North East has an annual investment fund worth just a small fraction  of that historic high.

“We can’t continue pretending second-best is good enough.”

 “Our region needs someone prepared to fight for it, to be an advocate for all that is great about the North East and to secure the real devolution that will let us control our own destiny. That’s why I’m standing to be mayor.”



Together We Can Reclaim Our Ambition

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