All leaders and the elected mayor of the North East Combined Authority have today written to government to confirm that they wish to begin detailed devolution negotiations.

Members of the North East Combined Authority (neca) have also confirmed that they will, alongside these discussions, consider appropriate models of governance, including an elected mayor.

In a letter to Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the leaders and elected mayor of the seven councils which form neca set out their ambitions for a radical devolution deal which would help in developing the area as the Northern Powerhouse’s export region.

Cllr Simon Henig, chair of neca, said: “We want to explore with Government the scope for a radical devolution deal for the North East, with substantial devolution of powers and responsibilities.

“In parallel to this, we will consider with Government the most appropriate governance structures, including an elected mayor, to oversee those new powers.

“We will approach this process of negotiation with an open mind about where this takes us and are all firmly committed to seizing the opportunity that real devolution presents for our region.”

A key focus of neca’s ambitions is to push export-led growth and enable business to take advantage of international opportunities.

The combined authority has confirmed that it intends to consult with businesses, trade unions and other partners before publishing its detailed plans in the autumn.