New commission set up after collapse of North East devolution deal

Jeremy Middleton
Jeremy Middleton

A North East Devolution Commission has been founded to explore ideas for the region’s future following the collapse of the devolution deal.

Chaired by North East businessman and former LEP board member Jeremy Middleton, who also wanted to become the region’s first directly-elected mayor, the commission is made up of experts in areas of policy that could be devolved to all or part of the region.

The members are health expert, consultant neurologist & life sciences entrepreneur Paul Goldsmith; education expert and former headteacher Philomena Marshall; Centre for Life chairman Alastair Balls CB; construction entrepreneur Jacqui Miller-Charlton MBE; Newcastle City councillor Stephen Lambert; and former Northern Development Corporation head John Bridges.

The launch comes as 100 business people from the region have endorsed a statement in favour of devolution.

The commission will address how devolution could help secure the region’s NHS and social care; create more and better-paid jobs in the North East; help to provide the region’s young people with the skills they need for work, provide a better planning process and deliver more homes; improve the North East’s environment; and boost volunteering, charities and philanthropy in the region.

The commission will now release a series of policy papers over the coming months. Further experts on relevant policy areas are expected to be announced.

Mr Middleton said: “I have long been a passionate supporter of bringing powers back from London to the North East, so it was devastating to see the region’s devolution deal collapse. More than 5000 people had joined the campaign for North East devolution on Facebook, and I promised them to continue to campaign actively for devolution for our region.

“The North East Devolution Commission will ensure that we concentrate on getting the best deal for the region and developing policies that can change our region for the better.”