The Queen’s Speech promised a ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper – but not yet, as anticipated by this website. It is now expected later this year.
There are those in the North East, naturally enough, who are disappointed at the delay. Meanwhile, the North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, has called for the White Paper, when it arrives, to offer mayors more ‘firepower’.
He told The Journal: ‘For English devolution to become a reality there needs the power for city region mayors to both generate wealth and spend it in their regions’.
There are many who would agree, but as this website argues, the North East (Tees Valley excepted) is not ready for more devolution. It rejected a devolution deal in 2016 and split in two,
Mayor Driscoll and the North of Tyne Combined Authority control only half the Tyneside economy, while the other half is in the hands of the rump North East Combined Authority. This is an institutional shambles not fit for the purpose of devolution.
Instead of spending the time until the publication of the White Paper complaining about what the government is or is not giving them, the seven councils should decide how they are going to organise themselves to be ready for devolution. They should make good use of the time to get their act together.