Frequently Asked Questions
What is Tees Valley?
The Tees Valley describes the area covering Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees.
The five councils have been working in partnership for over 20 years. People don’t generally describe themselves as being from “the Tees Valley”, and the individual identities of the separate towns and communities remain important. But the Tees Valley describes an area that works as a connected economic area. 90% of Tees Valley’s working population have jobs within the area, and 65,000 cross a council boundary to work. So communities across the Tees Valley depend on the success of the area as a whole.
Why is it Tees Valley not Teesside?
Teesside has an important heritage and identity, and this is not affected by the creation of a Tees Valley Combined Authority. The Tees Valley goes wider than the traditional definition of Teesside, to include parts of Cleveland, Darlington and Hartlepool, and it’s therefore right to use a title which covers the whole area.
This area is County Durham / North Yorkshire, not Tees Valley?
County Durham and North Yorkshire have proud identities, which are not affected by the creation of the Tees Valley Combined Authority. The Tees Valley reflects the reality of economic connections, which create an economic area including areas of both historic counties. It is right that we plan economic growth on the basis of the economic geography of our area, reflecting the reality of the way that communities both sides of the Tees have developed their economies closely together.
What is the Tees Valley Combined Authority?
The Mayor will chair the Combined Authority: a new body, set up by law to lead the economic development of the Tees Valley area. It is a partnership of five authorities, working with the business community and other partners.
By setting up this new body, the Tees Valley is able to deliver powers and responsibilities previously carried out by central government. There are similar bodies in other areas of the country which have secured devolution, including Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands, who also elected a mayor on 4th May.
What is Devolution?
England is one of the most centralised countries in the developed world. Devolution is a process that transfers powers and funding from central government to a local area. It means decisions can be made closer to the people affected, involving them more directly.
What is the Tees Valley Devolution Deal?
The Tees Valley signed a devolution deal with government in October 2015. Under the terms of the deal, the Tees Valley received more powers and funding. The government only agreed to this if the Tees Valley elected a Mayor, to be publicly accountable for decisions.
Does this mean that the individual councils will merge?
No. Your local council will still be responsible for delivering local services such as children’s services, social care, refuse collection, libraries, street cleaning etc. The Combined Authority is focused on economic growth of the wider Tees Valley area. Its new powers come from central government, not from the local councils.
Why do we need a Tees Valley Mayor?
Local council leaders negotiated a devolution deal with Ministers, to transfer powers, funding and responsibilities from central government to our local area. The government has said that this is only possible if an elected mayor is publicly accountable for decisions; working alongside the existing councils and other partners.
Will having a Tees Valley Mayor cost more?
The devolution deal brings in new funding. The direct costs of the Mayor will be met from this additional funding, without any additional cost to local Council Taxpayers. They will be supported by the Tees Valley Combined Authority from within established budgets. Following the report of an Independent Remuneration Panel, the Tees Valley Mayor’s allowance for 2017-18 will be set at the average of the five Tees Valley Leaders’ allowances. If calculated from the equivalent 2016/17 figures, their allowance would be £35,800 pa.
Is this just another layer of bureaucracy?
No, this is a transfer of decision making from London to Tees Valley it means that more decisions can be made locally to achieve a better outcome for local people, and to seize opportunities in our local economy.
What is the role for the private sector?
The private sector plays a key role in the Tees Valley Combined Authority. The Chair of Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, Paul Booth sits on the board of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the other members of the Local Enterprise Partnership are associate members of the Combined Authority.
One of the key aims of the Combined Authority is driving economic growth and job creation, it is vital the private sector plays an active role.