Responding to the Autumn Statement, Independent North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, said:
“The Chancellor’s statement focussed on business investment. This is important. Our investments in the North of Tyne have created 5,377 new jobs and secured £160 million for our new devolved investment zone. We’ve increased the number of people being trained from 22,000 to 35,000 a year, on the same budget.
“But people can’t get an NHS dentist, homes are expensive, schools are crumbling and the buses aren’t running because deregulated private companies won’t pay their staff a proper wage. We will only get a thriving economy, once we have a healthy and secure workforce supported by decent public services.
“I can’t fix the NHS. My job is to get investment into the North East. I’ve been working with officials to persuade the Chancellor to sign off money for our new investment zones and our trailblazer deal. In addition to the £6.1 billion for our new North East devolution deal in May, we’ve landed an extra £160mn to create jobs in our investment zones in Blyth, along the Tyne, IAMP in Washington and NETPark in Sedgefield.
“Our new North East devolution deal will give us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a publicly controlled Total Transport Network. With low-fares and integrated ticketing across rail, metro, buses and active travel. This is the prize of devolution.
“I’ve watched enough Westminster pantomime politics to know that promises are easily broken. We’ve proven our ability to deliver for the people of this region. Both parties need to commit to devolving more powers and trust us here in the North East to crack on with the job.”