A massive £450m deal has been signed to give the Tees Valley more powers over its own future.
And in Hartlepool, the 30-year agreement is expected to create new jobs and help secure a replacement for the power station.
Tees Valley officials welcomed the deal put on the table by the Government, which would see millions of pounds of additional funding head to the region. It follows weeks of negotiation between the Government and the five local authorities.
It is worth £450m over 30 years, equivalent to an additional £15m per year, and provides for the transfer of significant powers for employment and skills, transport, planning and investment from central government to the Tees Valley.
A new investment fund would be created to deliver a programme which would include a devolved and consolidated transport budget. A comprehensive review and redesign of the education, skills and employment support system is also planned.
Hartlepool Council leader, Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, said: “Devolution gives us a tremendous opportunity over the coming years to negotiate substantial funds from central Government above and beyond what we would normally receive. It will also enable us to accelerate the growth of our local economy, safeguarding existing jobs and creating many new ones, and it places Hartlepool in prime position to secure a replacement for its existing power station which alone generates £40m a year for the local economy.”
Devolution gives us a tremendous opportunity over the coming years to negotiate substantial funds from central Government above and beyond what we would normally receiveCoun Christopher Akers-Belcher, Hartlepool Council leader
Paul Booth, chair of the local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited, said: “This places Tees Valley at the vanguard of devolution and gives the area greater powers, greater freedoms and greater resources.
“The plans also would augment the area’s ability to optimise its economic assets, embrace new and emerging technologies and make sure that future generations of workers have skills and knowledge relevant to employers.”