The previous leader of Northumberland County Council has actually knocked the North East’s landmark devolution offer and called the proposed ballot system to pick a brand-new mayor “unethical”.
Coun Jeff Reid, who led the council’s Liberal Democrat administration from 2009 to 2013, made the remarks at Wednesday’s conference of the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Council.
It followed a discussion on the devolution offer by council leader Glen Sanderson, who is checking out each of the county’s city committees to go over the offer – something he firmly insists is the ideal thing to do for the county.
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Details of the devolution offer were verified in December after months of settlements. The offer, which is believed to deserve approximately £4.2bn, will bring essential choice making powers to the North East, and see a directly-elected mayor serving the 7 regional authorities in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham, changing the existing North of Tyne Combined Authority.
Coun Reid felt Northumberland and the larger North East must not need to have actually a mayor chosen in order to defend financing.
He said: “My red line would have been the election system being very first past the post. I believe it is unethical. Unless the Government let us have some type of proportional representation, I believe it disenfranchises the rural parts of Northumberland. They may also not trouble to vote.
“I personally do not believe this is the method individuals in the UK wish to be governed. What has the North of Tyne ever provided for us? This is even larger.
“It’s going to be the most significant by location in the nation and I simply do not believe that individuals in rural bits are going to feel linked to this.
“It is the worst of all worlds. We’re going to need to have some genuine charming individual who invests all their time in London attempting to get money for the area however it should not have to do with charm.
“It must have to do with requirement, about levelling up, about getting us what we require. If we think of the quantity of money this area has actually supplied the Treasury in the Victorian period – just how much the remainder of the nation owes us for what we performed in the past.”
Council leader Glen Sanderson has actually spoken at Castle Morpeth, Tynedale and the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Councils today and firmly insisted that devolution is the very best method forward for Northumberland.
He said: “I believe it’s definitely the ideal thing to do. It’s not about how I think of it personally, it has to do with what I believe is right.
“It will bring significant benefits to the whole region. This is something that’s going to be a very good thing – to have the North East region step up and be a serious power in the country.
“The overriding message we’re getting is support for this because it will bring more money and power to the North East. We as leaders all want what is best for our councils first and foremost, but also for the region as well.
“If Newcastle does well, Northumberland benefits. The Government’s arrangements will not allow us to have things forced on us and I would not be able to force anything on another council.
“If this doesn’t work, I will say sorry – but it will work.”
Speaking at Tynedale Local Area Council on Tuesday, Coun Derek Kennedy – who leads the authority’s independent group and represents Hexham West – backed the plans.
He said: “When the Government of the time say they’re wanting to do something and it’s attached to money and power, you’re a fool if you don’t take it.
“Northumberland did the right thing joining the North of Tyne. I believe the other authorities who didn’t were small-minded and put their head in the sand and rejected the future.
“We’ve seen the success of Andy Burnham in Manchester doing a tremendous job, and Ben Houchen in Teesside. I believe the North East has actually been left.
“Because of its own really nature, it requires to comprehend things, we require to take these sort of opportunities. . At last, the North East is going to capture up.
“The political leaders require to assess themselves for decreasing things that were constantly going to take place.”