Devolution Plans Vary Across The North East
Star Radio – 4/1/2016
Do we deserve a say in our region’s devolution plans?
The organisation, Teesside Together are highlighting discrepancies in the North East’s plans.
It comes as public votes and consultations begin in County Durham this month, as well as Newcastle, Sunderland and Gateshead. Darlington and Teesside councils have no plans to do so.
A statement sent from Darlington Borough Council, on behalf of the Tees Valley councils said; Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Chair of the Shadow Combined Authority said:
“The Tees Valley has carried out a formal consultation seeking views on the proposed Tees Valley Combined Authority earlier this year before the proposal was approved by the five Tees Valley Councils and submitted to Government. The devolution deal was fully debated and approved at the five local authorities’ full council meetings.”
“While there are no plans to carry out a postal vote as Durham are doing, we will be talking to residents and businesses in the Tees Valley about what the proposals mean for them in the new year. The Government has also carried out its own consultation on the Tees Valley Combined Authority.”
Simon Henig, Durham County Council leader spoke to us earlier about the plans for County Durham, ahead of the postal vote which goes out across the county in the new year.
Dave Roberts, Chairman of Teesside Together, the organisation campaigning for a wider recognition of Teesside as a whole, said; “Over the border in County Durham the council is undertaking a full public vote and apparently elsewhere, for example in Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead and Northumberland, the authorities are holding public consultations.”
“The question our local councils have to answer is why if democracy is OK for those areas, it is effectively being denied here on Teesside?”
He’s worried that the lack of public consultations and debates means people in Darlington and Teesside aren’t fully aware of the implications of devolution.
He added: “The authorities have a duty to make sure that people are both properly informed and heard, after all, their lives will be affected by these proposals for decades to come.”
Durham County Council begin the roll out of postal votes on Devolution at the start of January 2016.