Why did the North East Combined Authority fail to achieve a devolution deal with the UK government?

Maximilian Lemprière*, Vivien Lowndes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article seeks to provide a theoretically informed account of the vexed process of forming a combined authority in the North East of England. It addresses the puzzle of why the North East, an area with a strong regional identity and major regeneration needs, has stumbled in setting up a combined authority and negotiating a devolution deal with central government. Using existing theoretical work on processes of institutional formation, it seeks to account for the concomitant influence of agential, spatial and temporal contingencies as causal factors in explaining the particular path this combined authority took. The process stuttered because of relatively weak and fragmented leadership, contested and poorly articulated constitutional and governmental rules at multiple levels, and spatial and temporal legacies that undermined attempts at city-region governance. It was not possible to mobilise the ‘memory’ of prior institutional arrangements to underpin the new project and economic geographies proved complex and overlapping. In short, the challenges encountered in the North East reflected the animated, nested and embedded character of institutional formation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-166
Number of pages18
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Combined Authorities
  • devolution
  • North East Combined Authority
  • North East of England
  • North of Tyne Combined Authority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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