A statement issued on behalf of the leaders of Durham County, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland City Councils; Councillors Simon Henig, Martin Gannon, Iain Malcolm and Graeme Miller, said:

“The North East has an abundance of assets and vast economic potential and the four North East Combined Authority councils – Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland – have an absolute and steadfast commitment to unlocking more and more of this potential.

“Though the North of Tyne Devolution Deal has seen our counterpart authorities in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland form their own new mayoral combined authority, we know that the strength of partnership that remains across all parts of our region will allow us to continue to drive forward priorities around economic development and regeneration, delivering huge benefits for everyone across the North East.

“Leaders from the NECA authorities will meet soon to consider the results of an economic assessment that will help us understand more of the scale and potential of our area – a place that is already making a significant contribution to not only the wider North East, but UK Plc as a whole.

“There remains an unwavering commitment from NECA to work in partnership with our colleagues in the north of the region, as well as in Tees Valley – there are great synergies between all three areas.  We will work shoulder to shoulder with colleagues across the North East to make sure that our part of the region delivers on its undoubted promise and potential.”