BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable has been urged to hold a genuine consultation on the need for the region to keep key decision-making powers in local hands – or see the economy weaken.
A consultation will be held on the decision to close down regional development agencies, including One North East.
But the promise came with an admission from the Government that it had already made up its mind to scrap the agencies.
Now Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes and his predecessor Liberal Democrat David Faulkner have sent a joint letter to Dr Cable calling for the regeneration body to either be saved or for the region to retain some of its functions.
In their letter the two political group leaders said: “We are committed to the success of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, and will work with business, universities, colleges and other local authorities to make it a success.
“Nevertheless, we are concerned that many of the functions of the development agencies are not to be devolved to either local enterprise partnerships or local government, but instead centralised, on a basis which could weaken the prospects for private sector growth in the North East.”
In May the Government’s Whip in the House of Lords, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, said the policy of closing down development agencies had already been agreed – but that others could argue against it if they wished.