Delay for North East ‘supercouncil’

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A NORTH-East “supercouncil” might not be ready in time for its planned launch date next month.

The proposal for a unified authority was originally put forward last year and would see the seven councils in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area – Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland – share some functions while keeping others.

The House of Commons has approved proposals to create combined authorities in South and West Yorkshire and on Merseyside, but the North-East plan was not included and it is unclear when it will get the go ahead.

Sunderland City Council had raised concerns about what powers the new authority would have, which have since been ironed out. But it is still unclear whether the plan will get the thumbs-up in time for its launch date of April 1.

Durham County Council leader Coun Simon Henig, chairman of the North East Leadership Board, said: “We expect formal confirmation of the timescales for the legal process necessary to create the combined authority in our area, in the very near future.”