Sue Jeffrey has said the Tees Valley must be ready to push for even greater devolution after this May’s mayoral elections.
Sue, Labour’s candidate in the Metro Mayor elections, told a conference of city leaders from across the country they must continue pushing for more powers and funds to be handed over by London.
Her vision of uniting a Tees Valley voice has today won the backing of businesses, with Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Paul Booth OBE saying Sue “understands the potential of the region to develop an even stronger identity.”
Sue made her call for an ever greater focus on devolution at Labour’s local government conference on Saturday.
Speaking before council leaders, Sue warned that devolution must not end with the election of a mayor.
She said: “I firmly believe that the power of devolution, the power of mayors, comes in the ability to harness the talent and resources we already have and use them to deliver locally honed services that work for all.
“But to make that work we need real devolution, and government – not departments, just ministers – need to deliver on their side of the deal.
“It is notoriously difficult to wrest real power from Whitehall, and it is vital we are united and focused on the devolution round two and beyond.”
Business leader Paul Booth said Sue had the experience necessary to keep the devolution agenda going.
He said: “Sue has worked with government ministers at the highest level to secure devolution for the Tees Valley.
“At the same time, she has been working in partnership with large business and SMEs through the LEP to collectively agree our economic future.