News that three North East councils are believed to be going it alone on a devolution deal has been described as a “political hotchpotch” by local MEP Jonathan Arnott. The government had declared a devolution deal was off the table when the proposal involving all seven local authorities collapsed earlier this month.
But ITV Tyne Tees has reported that Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland - the three areas that voted for a devolution deal - have got together and now negotiations are taking place with the government over forming their own separate deal.
“This is just bizarre,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP.
“It would be crazy to have Newcastle and Gateshead having separate arrangements and we would end up with a political hotchpotch in the region and no actual North East plan.
“Nobody ever planned a three-Council mini-devolution scheme and I'm concerned that this will be pushed through for political reasons rather than based on any evidence to suggest it could work.
“There seems to be no overall strategy and some people would lose out in the inevitable funding postcode lottery,” he said.