Super council for North East a step closer

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PLANS for a North-East “super council” to boost the region’s economy have taken a major step forward.

 The proposals for a Combined Authority to take responsibilty for strategic issues such as planning and transport across the whole area covered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership were part of Lord Adonis’s Independent Economic Review, unveiled last year.

 The plan had been on hold with Sunderland City Council seeking assurances about the planned City Deal agreement for Wearside.

 But now the Government has confirmed the legal process to establish the new authority is under way.

 The LA7 group consists of Durham County, Gateshead, Newcastle City, North and South Tyneside, Northumberland County and Sunderland City councils.

 The Cabinet Office has now confirmed the legal process required is in place, paving the way for a formal order to be agreed by Parliament which would allow the Combined Authority to move ahead from April 1.

 Durham County Council leader Coun Simon Henig is chairman of the North East Leadership Board, which represents all the councils involved.

 He said: “Working together is the best way to promote jobs and growth and to secure devolution of funding, powers and responsibilities from Government. We share ambitious plans for the future of our area and we are determined to work together to deliver them.

 “We are, therefore, delighted to receive today’s news from Cabinet Office and look forward to the necessary formalities being progressed so that we can launch on April 1.

 “This is all about playing to our strengths and uniting to ensure the brightest possible prospects for our residents and our businesses.

 “This is an important and exciting moment in our history and we are ready now to deliver on our ambitious plans.”