Following discussions today, members of the North East Combined Authority have agreed to move to the next stage of devolution negotiations with the Government.

Cllr Simon Henig, chair of the North East Combined Authority, said: “Talks today on a devolution offer from Government have been going well.

“Reaching a deal takes time, but leaders have all agreed to move forward to the next stage of negotiations and are all determined to reach an agreement that is good for the North East.

“Leaders will continue to seek further consultation with the public and other stakeholders and acceptable outcomes to the spending review and legislation currently before Parliament.”

The negotiations are around the potential for devolution of powers, funding and responsibilities relating to the economy, investment, transport, jobs and skills.

An agreement would represent a major change to the way in which decisions affecting the North East are made.