A devolution deal has been signed with the shadow Tees Valley Combined Authority, providing a £450m boost to investment in the region as well as a devolved multi-year transport budget.
The deal follows the devolution pledges already unveiled for Manchester, Sheffield and the North East combined authorities.
In return, an official combined authority will be created ‘as soon as possible’ government officials said, and a directly elected mayor for the area will be established from May 2017.
Cllr Sue Jeffrey: 'No doubt' the deal will help the area deliver
The Government will give a Tees Valley’s mayor responsibility for a consolidated transport budget, with a multi-year settlement to be agreed at the Spending Review.
Relevant central funding for local transport will be passed directly to Tees Valley, as well as £15m a year over the next 30 years to help the authority establish a local investment fund.
While a major boost, the cash represents half of what was promised to Manchester, Sheffield and the North East areas.
Chancellor George Osborne said: ‘Teesside leaders have today joined the unstoppable momentum of devolution and once again they show that the Northern Powerhouse is leading the way. Today’s deal is brilliant news for Tees Valley and means that civic leaders here will take control of their own affairs in a way that would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago.
‘Rebalancing our economy and giving local leaders the power to manage their own affairs is a key part of our long-term plan and I want to thank the leaders across Tees Valley for their hard work in reaching this historic agreement.’
The official devolution agreement document also suggests the combined authority could be in line for bus franchising powers further down the line through the Buses Bill.
‘The Tees Valley clearly has ambitions to continue to strengthen the bus network and indeed the relationship and influence it has with local bus operators. The Government looks forward to discussing a franchising model or other appropriate mechanism(s) with Tees Valley as they are finalised in the coming months,’ the document states.
Chair of the Shadow Combined Authority and leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Sue Jeffrey, said there was 'no doubt' that the deal would ‘enable us to do more locally to strengthen our economy and secure a more sustainable future for the Tees Valley’.
‘Over the coming months we will be speaking to local residents and businesses about what the proposals mean for them.’
The Tees Valley Combined Authority covers Darlington Borough Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Middlesbrough Borough Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and StocktonOn-Tees Borough Council.
As was the case with previous deals to Sheffield and Greater Manchester, the deal requires support from each of the local councils within the region.