Run for North-East mayor begins as devolution deal reaches Parliament

Devolved powers to the North-East sees the race for mayor begin

Rhys James
4th March 2024
Image credit: Flickr Barynz
Legislation that will create a mayor for the North-East has been put before parliament.

There are currently mayors for Northumberland, City of Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, City of Sunderland, and County Durham.

Once the legislation is formally passed, there will be devolved powers to Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham.

The new Mayor of the North-East, who will represent two million people across the region, is set to be elected on May 2nd.

The devolution deal will see the North-East Mayoral Combined Authority (NEMCA) replace the current North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA). The 30-year devolution deal will also see more than £6bn of funding for the region, including a £1.4bn mayoral investment fund and more than £2bn for improving transport infrastructure.

From an article in the BBC, Levelling Up minister Jacob Young said the deal was an "important milestone for communities across the North East".

There are currently six candidates standing in the mayoral election: Sitting independent North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll; Labour’s Kim McGuinness; Conservative Guy Renner-Thompson; Liberal Democrat Aidan King; The Green Party’s Andrew Gray; and Reform UK’s Paul Donaghy

On Kim McGuinness’ candidate website, McGuiness says “As North East Mayor I will lead the fight to end child poverty, create good jobs and ensure we lead the UK once again in arts, culture and sport.”

Jamie Driscoll writes that he wants to see a stronger democracy, a fully public NHS, wealth tax, common ownership of utilities, universal basic income, proportional representation, repeal of oppressive anti-freedom laws, free tuition, and regulation of the media.

Guy Renner-Thompson said that his focus would be on a regional transport strategy and a small business grant scheme.

Aidan King, a lecturer at Newcastle University, vowed to create thousands of jobs by building the UK's largest on-shore wind farm, promised to "kickstart a house-building renaissance" and added his "common-sense transport plan" would provide seamless travel across Metro, bus, car and bike journeys.

Andrew Gray has said that with the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority due to receive billions in government funding, money should be spent "directly within the neighbourhoods" rather than "trickling down from big regional projects". Gray said his top priority would be to retrofit houses to make them warmer and cheaper to heat.

Paul Donaghy said if elected he would "promote economic growth, improve infrastructure, enhance community development, invest in youth provisions and represent the interests of the people, not those of any political party or unions".

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