Northumberland County Council has endorsed proposals for North East devolution after receiving government assurances on support for rural areas and the need to help grow the county’s economy.

If ultimately agreed, the move will represent a major change to the way in which decisions will be made in the future about transport, investment, funding, skills training, business support, housing and strategic planning.

After voting in favour of the proposals in March, the county council asked the government to provide a number of specific assurances aimed at ensuring the unique rural challenges faced in Northumberland are recognised.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has now written to all local councils addressing a number of areas of concern - including support for the proposed reintroduction of the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne passenger line and the need to address inequalities within the Fair Funding Review and and the proposed Business Rate Retention Scheme.

We remain determined that any devolution deal produces the best possible outcome for the people of Northumberland. While we voted in favour of the agreement, we needed the government to understand the issues we face as a rural authority, rather than just focusing on the urban areas. We have now had positive feedback from the government on a number of areas of concern and are happy to endorse the current proposals, while acknowledging the process still has some way to go." >

Council leader Grant Davey