THE leader of the North-East business community has welcomed moves to create a regional super council.

The Cabinet Office has announced that moves to set up the combined authority are about to start and that it will be running later this year.

It will have a major role in economic development, training and transport.

It is backed by the councils for Durham, Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside.

North East, Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive James Ramsbotham,said: “The North-East business community recognises the importance of regional unity in our aims, economic priorities and ambition as the Government made it clear that resources and policy flexibility will only be devolved on the basis of effective governance arrangements beyond local authority boundaries.

“As such, it is fantastic to learn that Cabinet Office has begun the process that will see the creation of a Combined Authority, which will oversee strategic issues including transport, skills, inward investment and spatial planning.

“Our LA7 local authority leaders must be applauded for resolving the issues that had threatened to derail plans for the Combined Authority.

“The councils’ actions will ensure that the North East LEP area is on an even footing with the likes of Greater Manchester (which is already benefiting) and several other English city regions that are planning to do the same.

“With the right structures in place this area can maximise its significant competitive advantages and continue to set the pace nationally for economic growth, as it has done over the past few years.”

The Government announcement was made after Sunderland signed up for the plan, having earlier expressed reservations.