Today (February 17) is the last opportunity that Wearsiders have to say their views on the proposal of devolution in the North East.
In short, devolution is the process of power being delegated to a lower tier of government, which in this case, is the combined authority of North East elected councils. It would give councils the right to make autonomous decisions on the infrastructure of the region’s towns and cities – decisions that are usually managed by Parliament.
The North East is one of few regions in the country which has been offered the chance of devolution. It would mean that control over community matters will be shifted closer to home. If these plans go ahead, they could be the first developments of the United Kingdom taking to a more federal structure of democracy.
What you need to know is that the North East Combined Authority has signed a proposed devolution agreement that aims to drive economic growth to the North East. With London paving the way as Britain’s economic powerhouse, and the substantial loss of jobs and business in the north, such as the closure of Redcar’s steel plant, devolution could be something of great significance.
Before any decision is made, Sunderland City Council have asked for the views of the people of Sunderland to be taken via a survey.
Council Leader, Councillor Paul Watson, said:
“This is a really important decision for the city and residents have a vital role to play in helping us decide where we go from here. So we’d encourage people to take the time to complete the short questionnaire we’ve posted online.”
According to www.sunderland.gov.uk, these are the offers by the Government:
To give the North East new opportunities to support businesses and create more jobs. That includes giving the North East an extra £30m a year – over 30 years, to set up an Investment Fund to help business growth
To let us develop our own plans to improve post-16 education and training so that people have better skills and better prospects
To let us take more decisions ourselves about transport investment, particularly public transport
To allow us to do more to identify opportunities for investment in new housing
To give us more say over how money from the European Union is spent in the North East
To allow us to review health and social care provision and develop plans to improve and integrate services so that people receive better care
To have your views heard, click here to fill in the survey no later than February 17.