Counties are more popular than the North East: Where would you say you are from?

Photo by: @byneilmac.

A poll has revealed that people say they are from individual places rather then the North East.

As the region prepares for devolution, SR News asked on Twitter and Facebook whether people say they hail from the North East or one of the counties.

Two thirds (67 per cent) of people said they were from Tyne & Wear. Teesside and Durham were both at 13 per cent, while Northumbria was at 7 per cent. No one responded that they think they are from the North East.

Hilton Dawson, leader of the North East Party, does believe that the region is a real place, adding: “The North East starts at Marshall Meadows, north of Berwick, to Skinningrove, as specified by government.

“We have an amalgamation of history, culture, football rivalry, dialect and common tradition ­- all forged by adversity.”

Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council and Lead for Economic Development and Regeneration, said: “If I’m speaking to people from in and around the North East, and if I’m asked about my roots, I say that I’m from Pallion, Sunderland.”

“There’s a shared heritage, and I think, especially, of our industrial heritage, as one of the birth-places of the industrial revolution. I think people across the North East can be very robust, resilient, innovative, and there’s a strong sense of community”.

SR News conducted the poll after a devolution deal was announced for the North East in October. The North East combined authority would mean spending decisions would be taken locally rather than by central government.

The combined authority would include the councils of Northumberland, County Durham, Gateshead Metropolitan, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland. Middlesbrough, Darlington, Hartlepool and Stockton, areas usually considered to be in the North East, are to have their own Tees Valley authority.

Durham County council has sent a poll to everyone on the electoral register asking his or her view on this proposal. Results will be announced on February 24.

It is 13 years since the region rejected the creation of a North East Assembly in a referendum.

Mr Dawson added: “I don’t think a lot of it. The combined authority has been a complete shambles. It is not devolution, not enough power. It should have been put to a referendum. Splitting into the Tees Valley and North East is divisive.”

The idea of distinct English regions is nothing new. In 1912 parliamentary debate, Winston Churchill supported the creation of ten or twelve regional parliaments.

Historically, there have always been distinctly northern institutions. During the Second World War, the UK was organised into civil defence regions.

In the 1960s, the secretary of State for Economic Affairs George Brown set up regional planning authorities. In 1994 the North East European constituency was created.

If you want to get involved in the devolution debate, get in touch with SR News at @SRnewsNow and on our Facebook page

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