- Represent The Region
From the start one of my main ambitions has been to unite the region as one North East Mayoral Combined Authority. We are one economic area. The River Tyne does not divide us in any way that matters. We live, work and play all across the North East.
I’ve been driving this process forward, seeking to secure the best deal possible for the North East. This has been through lobbying and discussions with government ministers across departments including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Department for Transport, the Department for Education and the Treasury. I’ve been making the case for more powers in relation to transport, skills, adult education and regional wealth generation mechanisms (fiscal devolution) as the only way to achieve genuine levelling up. Through this hard work, a strong draft deal has now been negotiated with government, which, if post public consultation approval is given by our Local Authority partners, will result in the best per capita settlement of all the combined authorities and unlock £600 million for transport investment.
That said, I have already been bringing the region together in important ways. Convening and the soft powers that I have as Mayor can be really powerful.
We set up the Tyne Taskforce which brings together the Combined Authority, Local Authorities, MPs, Port of Tyne and the businesses situated along the Tyne. Together we have set out a shared ambition for the Tyne to be a world leader in the offshore and renewable energy sectors.
I co-chair Net Zero North East. This is a coalition of everybody across our region who’s taking the climate emergency seriously – the public sector, our local authorities, the health service, our businesses, large and small, our community groups. Climate change is one of the most important things we need to work together on. Individuals can make a difference but the scale of the problem demands with we change the way we live on a regional, national, global scale. By working together as a region I’m hopeful that as a region we can be leaders in the green industrial revolution.