Durham residents will be asked for their views on the region's devolution deal in a postal poll to be held in January 2016. The poll was agreed at a full council meeting that took place this morning.
What is the devolution deal?
The proposed devolution agreement was negotiated with Government by the North East Combined Authority, which is made up of the seven councils covering Gateshead, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Northumberland, Sunderland and County Durham. It was signed by George Osborne and Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council on the 23rd October.
It would see decisions about transport, investment, funding, skills training, business support, housing and strategic planning being made in the North East instead of in London.
It would also bring an additional £30m a year over the next 30 years, which would be pumped into the regional economy through investment, job creation, transport improvement and more targeted skills training.
However the full deal is conditional on further public consultation, the Government's spending review, legislation passing through Parliament and agreement by each of the seven councils in the Combined Authority.
What will the poll mean?
Well, that's not quite clear. Durham County Council have said: "The results of the poll in County Durham will not be binding but they will help to inform our decision."
What will the poll ask?
The questions devised by experts at Durham University focus on four areas:
Do you think devolution is a good idea?
How powerful should an elected mayor be?
Should leaders seek to devolve even more powers once the deal has been agreed?
Do you think devolution will bring jobs and prosperity to County Durham?