The seven councils involved in a multi-million-pound devolution for the North-East are due to meet today after the deal was thrown into chaos this week.
Gateshead Council announced on Tuesday that it rejected the proposed devolution deal having previously signed up to it.
And Durham County Council yesterday (Wednesday) decided to defer its decision on the deal, which could unlock £3.4bn in job creation and skills training cash.
The proposed devolution agreement was negotiated with Government by the North-East Combined Authority, which is made up of the seven councils covering County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland.
Aycliffe Today reported in February that 59.5% of County Durham residents voted in favour of devolution.
But yesterday, Durham decided to delay a final decision after concerns were raised by some councillors.
It came just a day after Gateshead did its U-turn on devolution, blaming politicians in Westminster for the lack of a breakthrough.
Both authorities have said they support “genuine devolution for the North East” – but councillors have argued that they don’t believe what is being offered matches up to that.
Durham County Council leader Simon Henig (pictured) told councillors that fair funding for the region needed to be in place to make the deal work, adding that more time was needed to get the deal right.
“Devolution is a journey and discussions are ongoing,” said Mr Henig.
Newcastle, Sunderland and the two Tyneside councils had already voted to accept the deal.
The leaders of the seven councils which make up the North East Combined Authority will meet today to discuss the proposals.
They will in effect have four options – turn down the deal, agree the deal, agree the deal with conditions attached, or delay it.