Trailblazing deal negotiated for NEMCA

Author: Amy Coates
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Local councils have negotiated a ‘trailblazing’ deal to deepen devolved powers and bring a greater level of local decision making for the North East Mayoral Combined Authority (NEMCA), which will form on 7th May 2024. 

Dame Norma Redfearn DBE, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside and Chair of the Combined Authority Steering Group released a statement last week on behalf of the seven local authorities that will form NEMCA. It reads:

When we, as a group of Council Leaders, negotiated the original devolution deal we wanted to ensure we secured the right to go further on devolved powers.

This bespoke deal is custom made for our communities and while we remain ambitious for the region we are pleased this gives more power to focus on local priorities.

Today’s announcement will help us to do more and is rightful recognition that we are better placed than those in Whitehall to identify the priorities for our region.

This is on top of the original devolution deal for the North East, which we have already made great progress with delivering local priorities even before the mayor is elected in May. We are already bringing investment forward for a range of schemes that benefit the whole region.

The additional trailblazer deal recognises the region’s unique geography, with a mixture of urban, rural, and coastal communities.

 Highlights include:

  • A £25m investment to support the development of the Riverside Sunderland site along with creation of a ‘Growth Zone’ to attract investment.
  • Investment of £10m to accelerate progress on a Health Innovation Zone - including the Health Innovation Neighbourhood and Forth Yards sites in Newcastle.
  • Support for the region’s rural and coastal economy – including a new Taskforce to support biodiversity and the natural environment.
  • £58m of funding brought forward to cover the maintenance and renewal of the Tyne and Wear Metro system for the next two years.
  • A single funding pot for housing and regeneration, more influence over affordable housing with a commitment to a future single government department style financial settlement.
  • Creation of a formal rail board with the government and rail industry to jointly develop plans for improvements to rail infrastructure and services in the region.
  • Support for plans to develop the expansion of the “Pop” card onto local rail services.
  • More local responsibility for developing and delivering adult education, skills and careers advice and working in partnership with Department for Work and Pensions to improve how people get into work.
  • More control over delivering affordable homes for residents, in partnership with Homes England.
  • A North East Strategic Energy Board which will coordinate energy supply and demand and promote growth in the offshore wind sector.
  • Development of a blueprint to support growth of the creative industries, heritage, sport and the visitor economy, and new opportunities to attract additional investment.

The Government will also work to address barriers to growth at the region’s ports and airport – the Green Superport – including on policy areas like grid infrastructure capacity and developing an industry-leading skills pipeline.

You can read the full deal here.


We look forward to continuing to work together with the new mayor to implement the ambitious devolution deals which we have negotiated.

To learn more about the North East Devolution deal and what it means for the region, you can read this explainer from Institute for Government 

Prior to the elections, VONNE and Connected Voice, with support from Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland will be hosting a Hustings for the VCSE sector. Chaired by Sir Paul Ennals, CBE, it will be an opportunity for mayoral candidates to respond to the VCSE Inclusive Economy Manifesto and answer questions from attendees in the voluntary sector. 

Launched in Autumn 2023, the VCSE Inclusive Manifesto has been developed by VONNE in partnership with North East Local Infrastructure Organisations. The manifesto sets out the VCSE sector’s vision for an inclusive economy, the broad reaching benefits of this approach, the critical role it can play in helping to achieve this.  

Sign up to attend The Hustings here