North East Devolution Commission Chair Jeremy Middleton CBE said: “After months of delays and the original deal being taken off the table, this is at least a positive sign for part of the region. The leaders of the three councils that have made this new deal should be congratulated for finally putting the interests of the region ahead of party politics, it is a shame that the four other still won’t do this.
“While this is a step in the right direction, for the North East to prosper the deal must allow the local authority areas currently left behind to join eventually. Durham, Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside cannot be excluded. In addition to this, the devolved powers and budgets must be overseen by a directly elected mayor, who can hold the region’s politicians to account and challenge entrenched, vested interests.”