There are no plans to impose a new charge on taxpayers to fund the North of Tyne mayor.
The combined authority’s draft budget for the next four years reveals that Jamie Driscoll is not proposing to add a mayoral precept to council tax bills in Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland.
Regional mayors have the power to levy a precept to help raise extra cash to pay for their plans, and the charges have been controversially introduced in Greater Manchester and Liverpool.
After a cabinet meeting this week, Mr Driscoll confirmed that he is not planning to impose his own precept and instead wants to see more central government cash returned to regional leaders to invest here.
The Labour mayor said that too much of local taxpayers’ money goes “straight to London”, adding: “I want to make sure we get some of that back here so that people in the North East can decide how their taxes are spent.”
Mr Driscoll, who was elected in May, said earlier this year that adding a precept equivalent to a £10 increase in the council tax bill of a Band D property would generate less than £2m for the North of Tyne Combined Authority and that there are “more practical ways” of securing more substantial funding.
At Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, the region’s leaders also agreed to pump an extra £7m into the authority’s ‘inward investment fund’, which issues grants to encourage businesses to invest in the area.
It had been hoped that the original £3m fund would create 600 new jobs by 2022 - but that target will now be increased to 2,000.
Mr Driscoll said it was “wonderful” that businesses’ interest in applying to the fund had been so high since it launched.
According to a combined authority report, there is an ‘active pipeline’ of projects interested in the fund that would bring a total £54m of investment to Newcastle, Northumberland, and North Tyneside.
Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson said: “This is a signal that the North of Tyne is open for business and welcoming to business from all over the country and the world.”