North East devolution plans shelved after local leaders reject deal
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that a planned devolution deal for the North East will not go ahead after a majority of local leaders voted against it.
Mr Javid said he was disappointed that four of the seven councils to form a planned North East Combined Authority - Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland, and South Tyneside - voted against the deal.
He insisted they would have received guaranteed investment of more than £1 billion and powers over transport, skills and regeneration.
Legislation to devolve the powers and enable 2017 elections for a North East mayor has now been shelved.
Mr Javid said: "Local leaders in the North East Combined Authority have made a clear decision not to proceed with this ambitious and far-reaching devolution deal for their region - while I am disappointed, it is a decision I respect and so that deal is now off the table.
"It is with regret that we have therefore withdrawn the legislation that would have brought this deal to life, which means local people will miss out on over £1 billion of investment, and new powers on transport, planning, and skills.
"Handing power back to Northerners is a key part of our plans to build a Northern Powerhouse and our focus now will be on working to secure a new agreement for residents in those areas committed to progressing with devolution."