Hartlepool to consult on combined authority for Tees Valley

Christopher Akers-Belcher.

Christopher Akers-Belcher.

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A NEW combined authority could be created in the Tees Valley to bring jobs and growth to the area.

Tees Valley’s five local councils are set to consult on plans to join forces.

CAMPAIGNING TOGETHER: From L-R: Ray Mallon, George Dunning, Stephen Catchpole, Bill Dixon, Bob Cook and Christopher Akers-Belcher  Photograph by Keith Taylor

CAMPAIGNING TOGETHER: From L-R: Ray Mallon, George Dunning, Stephen Catchpole, Bill Dixon, Bob Cook and Christopher Akers-Belcher Photograph by Keith Taylor

Each local authority would continue delivering local services but they would unite as a formal Tees Valley Combined Authority when it comes to economic development, transport, infrastructure and skills. The new statutory body could also unlock devolved powers and resources from Government.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority would hold joint meetings with the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and its business representatives, while also sharing staff and resources.

The proposal has already received strong backing from business leaders in the form of The North East Chamber of Commerce, the CBI and the Institute of Directors.

Sandy Anderson, chairman of the local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited, said it would “provide greater resources and a stronger voice for the region.

“The Combined Authority would be managed by the Managing Director of the LEP; but unlike the LEP, it would be a statutory body giving Government the certainty of structure and accountability necessary to devolve more significant amounts of money and levels of decision making.”

Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “A Combined Authority would provide an opportunity to cement the excellent partnership working arrangements that already exist between the five Tees Valley councils and businesses.

“We have a proud record in this area of delivering successfully when we have been given the opportunity to do so. Devolving more powers to a local level would give us the freedom and flexibility to influence key areas, particularly jobs, the economy and transport which are all so vital to future prosperity.”

The consultation process is expected to start on December 10 and last until the end of February when details will be available on the websites of Tees Valley Unlimited and all five councils.

After the process is completed, a submission will be made to Government soon after. If it is successful the Combined Authority is expected to come into operation in the Autumn or Winter of next year.