North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll is calling for the creation of a regional wealth fund similar to that run by countries such as Norway and Saudi Arabia which he says would help him create 14,000 new jobs.
Mr Driscoll said the fund could be created if he was allowed to take advantage of current low interest rates.
The fund would create thousands of jobs, bring redundant land back into use and invest in community groups, he argues in a new report.
Read more : go here for more politics stories
He also wants to be allowed to keep a portion of tax receipts from new jobs created in the North of Tyne area to be used to further boost the regionâ€™s economy.
His ideas have been backed by former Treasury Minister Jim Oâ€™Neill, the architect of the Northern Powerhouse Initiative and a key negotiator in the North East devolution deal that ultimately led to the North of Tyne mayoral authority.
Mr Driscoll has written the report for the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, an independent charity that promotes work tackling major challenges for society.
Mr Driscoll said: â€œThe best way to improve peopleâ€™s lives is to put more money in their pockets. That means generating more wealth here by investing in our economy and paying good wages. That requires investment in skills, in transport, and directly in local firms.
â€œThe challenges of the climate crisis are coming at us whether we are prepared or not. The drag of poverty is just as urgent as the climate crisis, and it causes long-term scarring to our whole society. They are two sides of the same coin.
â€œThis paper offers solutions, long term solutions, without increasing taxes. It pays for itself with the wealth it generates. Forget levelling-up, this is levelling-beyond.â€
In the report, Mr Driscoll says the North of Tyne mayoral authority is easily beating Government targets on job creation, but admits that the area suffers from problems including low productivity, poor life expectancy and widespread deprivation.
Arguing that â€œyou cannot level up the North from Whitehallâ€, he calls for a â€œlevelling up boardâ€ with representatives from every Government department to be created at each mayoral authority to make sure public schemes set up to tackle economic challenges in regions work more effectively.
Mr Driscoll also argues for a new â€œinvest-to-saveâ€ approach to long term health problems, which allows the future money saved by improving housing and public transport to be invested upfront.
Former Treasury Minister Jim Oâ€™Neill, who chairs the RSA Cities Growth Commission, said: â€œDuring Covid-19, I became a public voice calling for regional equivalents of some so-called Sovereign Wealth Funds, citing the example of Singaporeâ€™s Temasek, as what might be considered around some areas of the UK, to try and provide more patient capital to help truly develop a new economy, with stronger productivity, higher incomes, higher shared wealth, and a better society, in the spirit of never letting a crisis go to waste.
â€œJamieâ€™s proposal for a specific such Fund for the North East is an idea that is easy for me to endorse, given the scale of the areaâ€™s challenges. I hope it isnâ€™t dismissed out of hand, or even worse, ignored by Whitehall.â€
Dr Alice Mathers, director of research at the RSA, said: â€œThe North East is not a problem to be solved, but a national asset we have under-invested in.
â€œThe levelling-up debate is often polarised between cities versus the red wall, London versus the North, or GDP versus wellbeing.
â€œIn truth, we need an approach with four key elements: growing local economies, powerful local governance, public services focused on reducing social inequalities, and stronger community voice.
â€œAll of which require commitment to effective participatory approaches, creating an equal platform for more local people to have a voice on matters that affect them, to help shape future services and systems.â€