Key figures from the region’s business, health, and technology sectors were among those invited to help shape the vision for the North of Tyne.
Around 80 representatives from various fields including science, finance and the arts, were invited to a special event at the Centre for Life to help the emerging North of Tyne Combined Authority set out its ambitions and priorities.
A £600m devolution deal for the North of Tyne area is expected to become reality when the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government asks Parliament to agree the new governance arrangements.
The North of Tyne group – comprised of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland council – has been developing a vision document to guide its ambitions and investment priorities.
The event gave stakeholders the opportunity to have their say on a series of draft objectives around themes such as education, jobs, economic growth, and housing.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes said: “At the heart of our devolution deal is the need to create more and better jobs.
“It is critical that businesses in the North of Tyne, especially those creating the employment opportunities of the future, can hear our plans, and give us their insight as success will be greater if we work together.”
North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “This has been a valuable opportunity for our partners to get together and exchange ideas.
“Devolution is a collective endeavour, so it’s great to hear so many insightful contributions at this early stage and to see people’s passion for North of Tyne shine through. I’m sure these relationships will go from strength to strength as things continue to take shape.”
Councillor Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Devolution is a once in a lifetime chance to take local decisions about our future to provide more and better opportunities for everyone.
“It’s important we engage as many people as possible and it was excellent to see such a diverse range of stakeholders getting involved and helping shape our future vision.”
The three North of Tyne authorities agreed a ‘minded to approve’ devolution deal with the government in November 2017. Once established the new Combined Authority will have an elected mayor and unprecedented new powers and funding, including a £600 million investment fund.
The investment and new powers are expected to generate £1.1 billion for the local economy, create 10,000 new jobs and leverage £2.1 billion in private sector investment.