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North of Tyne Mayor: Jamie Driscoll wins second round vote

07 May 2019
Newcastle
On Friday 3 May 2019, Jamie Driscoll of the Labour Party was elected as the first North of Tyne Mayor, a position he will hold for a term of 5 years. 

As the leader of the newly created North of Tyne Combined Authority ("NTCA"), Jamie Driscoll will be responsible for championing the North of Tyne region (spanning Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland local authorities) and using new powers from the North of Tyne devolution deal to bring increased investment, employment and education opportunities to the North of Tyne area.

 

Election

The North of Tyne Mayoral election was conducted using the transferable vote method, whereby voters select their first and second choice candidates. After the first round of voting, no candidate had over 50% of the votes and therefore the second preferences were counted. In the second count, Labour candidate Jamie Driscoll won with 76,862 votes, ahead of the Conservative candidate Charlie Hoult (60,089). 

In his campaign, Driscoll promoted policies such as community housing co-operatives, a green energy company and a "people's bank". His manifesto was built around 5 themes: community wealth building, investing in a green industrial revolution, setting up community hubs, building affordable homes and delivering meaningful adult education programmes. High profile projects include setting up a People's Bank to invest in local businesses, joint ticketing across North of Tyne transport and providing high speed broadband.

 

What is the North of Tyne Combined Authority ("NTCA")?

The NTCA is responsible for delivering the North of Tyne Mayor's policies using the powers set out in the North of Tyne devolution deal. The NTCA is the ninth combined authority to be created under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.

 

What is the role of the mayor?

The new Mayor will work with the three council leaders to improve the prosperity of the North of Tyne area, including with regard to issues relating to economic development, education and planning. The North of Tyne Mayor will also promote and champion the North of Tyne area nationally and internationally. The Mayor doesn't control existing council services, but does have powers to set up development corporations, sits upon the North East joint transport committee and has a role working to attract investment to the region, including making representations to Westminster and working with the Local Enterprise Partnership.

 

How much investment will it bring to the local economy?

The NTCA devolution deal brings £600m (£20m over 30 years) of additional funding towards economic development activities, this being on top of the money Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland councils already spend for investment in the local economy.  A further £23m a year allocated to fund skills training for adult education.

In other areas with City Mayors, further powers and public funding have been devolved by Westminster. Many commentators expect NCTA to have a role in delivering the United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund in the North of Tyne.

 

Where will the investment be focussed?

The devolution deal aims to create 10,000 jobs and boost the local economy by over £1bn, focusing upon skills and adult education, employment, investment and business support. However, it does not have any control over transport or housing. 

Jamie Driscoll's Manifesto specifies policies to support economic development in the North of Tyne area. These include setting up a People's Bank to invest in local businesses, using the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 to help local businesses win public sector contracts and investing in innovative low carbon projects such as Smart Grids.

 

Why is there not a North of East Mayor?

Although there were detailed discussions with the councils across the North East, the four councils to the south of the Tyne decided not to enter into the devolution deal.

 


by Alexander Rose and Hannah Nagel

 

DWF Law LLP has a wealth of experience in advising upon regeneration and local growth matters, including advising upon funding programmes and State aid law. We are able to draw upon a team of leading experts with experience of working in the UK Government on Cities and Local Growth matters, local authorities, regional development agencies and the European Commission.

 

Further Reading