That is the function of a proposed Combined Authority for Teesside.
It is not about setting up a new council, or electing more councillors, it is about saying that some things are so important to our area that we should be working on them together in a formal partnership.
Take job creation for instance.
People across Teesside need jobs and inward investment. When I was growing up in Yarm lots of the people on our estate worked at ICI in Wilton or at British Steel. My mate’s dad worked at the nuclear power station in Hartlepool. None of these work places were in the area of Stockton Borough Council but everyone was and still is happy to travel to a decent job anywhere on Teesside. Therefore if an employer creates or removes say 1000 jobs on Teesside it has a massive impact on our local residents.
The proposal here is for the councils to work together, in a team of Chief Executives and the political leadership of local authorities, along with our Local Enterprise Partnership to see things in a wider scale, not fight with each other over where a factory is located for instance, so long as it comes to Teesside.
And then there is Transport. We all know what a disaster our bus services have become and how powerless we are to have any sway over the private bus companies who provide what is laughably called public transport. They only offer the services they want to and at a cost that suits them. We need to bring back some local ownership about which routes we want to see offered to passengers and at what times. This would be much easier if we could sit up at a level above the local council boundaries and think about people who want to travel between Stockton and Middlesbrough for instance, or Yarm and Darlington, or whatever it might be.
I am a passionate supporter of a Teesside wide strategy for jobs, investment and transport and I think the Combined Authority idea is a great one. But I would be interested in your thoughts too. Do have a look at the link below, particularly the Frequently Asked Questions section and let me know what you think.