Councillors agree to move on with Combined Authority

Durham County Council leader Simon Henig.
Durham County Council leader Simon Henig.

Councillors agreed to move to the next stage of the devolution process – to create a mayoral combined authority for the North East.

The decision by Durham County Council’s cabinet is subject to a number of conditions.

They include that County Durham is not left worse off by the Government’s proposals on transport and highways funding; that conditions are met in relation to mayoral powers and governance; and the commitment that ongoing discussions with Government will deliver fair funding.

In March Cabinet members deferred their decision in relation to the devolution proposals so that further clarification and commitment could be sought from Government in relation to a number of outstanding issues.

A report to Cabinet sets out the progress made in addressing the outstanding issues raised in March as well as the potential consequences of agreeing or not agreeing to be part of a mayoral combined authority area.

Council leader Coun Simon Henig said: “We believe devolution offers real opportunities to the North East – and nearly 60 per cent of people in County Durham who responded to our household poll agreed that it could benefit the region.

“However, there is still some progress to be made and we remain focused on ensuring that the conditions which form part of the agreement are met.”

If the proposals are agreed, the North East Combined Authority will be responsible for making key decisions regarding the economy, investment, transport, housing, and skills.