The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Finance and Governance presented a report to seek approval to refer the Combined Authority Draft Scheme to the Secretary of State with intent of establishing a Combined Authority for the Tees Valley (including Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland).
The Government was keen to see Combined Authorities created to tie in with Local Enterprise Partnerships. The Combined Authority proposal for the Tees Valley was slightly different from models adopted elsewhere as it would be one body and operate as the Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Deputy Mayor highlighted that part of the rationale for the Combined Authority was to make decision-making more efficient by requiring just one decision instead of five locally. The major prize, however, was the devolution of powers from Government and the opportunities afforded by reversing decades of centralisation in the UK.
The creation of a Combined Authority would benefit communities by creating employment, targeting resources to skills development where most needed, attracting business in new and emerging industries thus diversifying the economy and creating a transport infrastructure and strategy to help people and goods move around the Tees Valley, nationally and internationally.
In response to a query regarding the membership of the proposed Scrutiny Panel being politically proportionate, the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Finance and Governance stated that such detail had not yet been decided and would be clarified at a later date.
The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Finance and Governance suggested some minor amendments to the recommendations from those contained in the submitted report.
On a vote being taken, it was ORDERED as follows that Council:
1. Note the positive nature of the consultation results.
2. Agree to the submission of the Draft Scheme to the Secretary of State.
3. Delegate authority to the Chief Executive, in conjunction with the Mayor, to make any minor changes which may be required to the Draft Scheme through the negotiation process with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
4. Note that further reports may be forthcoming to the Council as required following the DCLG processes.