Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy announced the transfer of government money directly to local people through the region’s devolution deal-the first of payments from a total of £450m due over the next 30 years.
The extra government investment into the Northern Powerhouse has been made available as part of the devolution deal signed in October last year and how it is spent will be up to local people - through the new Tees Valley Combined Authority.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority is to put forward proposals for how the additional funding will be invested, alongside matched finance from other sources, to deliver key elements of its Strategic Economic Plan, including:
The deal also allows local people to take back control of decisions that matter to them, including:
Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said: “The people of the Tees Valley came up with an ambitious devolution deal which puts them back in charge of decisions that matter to them.
“Now today’s £15million government investment into the Northern Powerhouse is proof that we will equip them with what they need to get the North firing on all cylinders and build an economy that works for everyone.”
Created in April, and comprising five councils from across the area, this new authority is set to be chaired by the region’s first-ever directly-elected mayor, with elections set to take place in May 2017.
Mayor David Budd, chair of Tees Valley Combined Authority said: “The Tees Valley has ambitious plans to create jobs and grow the local economy. Devolution gives us the opportunity to deliver locally-led initiatives to transform our economy – far more effectively than decisions made behind a desk in Whitehall.
“This additional funding negotiated through our devolution deal, as the first payment of a 30 year commitment, is one more step on this journey.
“We will invest it in local priorities which give people the skills they need, and the jobs our region needs for a successful future. We will continue our dialogue with government to secure further commitments, and to become a flagship for successful devolution.”
The Tees Valley devolution deal is one of 9 across the country – eight of which have directly elected mayors. It means decisions that have previously been made in Westminster will now be made in the areas they affect most.
Nigel Mills is chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, which represents more than 300 high-growth North East and Tees Valley businesses with an annual combined turnover of £2.3 billion and 22,000 employees.
He said: “This is a boost for business in the Tees Valley. This progress with the devolution deal will give local entrepreneurs the confidence to grow their businesses and create much-needed jobs.
“Increased support for skills, and the proposed export plan and annual inward investment event are of particular interest to the entrepreneurial community.”