William Eichler 22 June 2016

Chair of combined authority steps down

The chair of a combined authority in the North East has announced he will be standing down after more than two years in the position.

Cllr Simon Henig (pictured) told the AGM for the authority: ‘I have been honoured to chair the North East Combined Authority (NECA) over its first two years and in the months leading up to its formation.

‘In that time we have firmly established the North East in the first wave of devolution across the country – something I, and many others, believe is key to achieving a bright future for us all.’

Cllr Henig, leader of Durham County Council, has chaired NECA since its inception in April 2014. Before this he led the North East Leadership Board through its transition from shadow to statutory body from November 2013.

Cllr Paul Watson from Sunderland has been elected to take his place.

Speaking to the AGM, the outgoing chair reaffirmed his belief in the principle of devolution.

‘We remain on track to establish the foundations of a strong, devolved North East,’ Cllr Henig said.

‘For this to succeed, I firmly believe there must be engagement and partnership across the region, from the business community to trade unions to members of parliament, voluntary and community groups and all of our residents.

‘I believe this is vital for the future and to make devolution work.’

Cllr Henig, who was also vice chair of a local enterprise partnership, added it was always the intention the position of chair would rotate between the seven local authorities combined in NECA.

‘It is therefore appropriate,’ he concluded, ‘that I stand down this afternoon as chair of the North East Combined Authority and vice chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

‘Can I thank everyone for their support over the last two and a half years.’

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