Council leaders in the North East have secured the right to a 'trailblazer' deal as part of the region’s original devolution negotiations.

The negotiations have been ongoing between the seven leaders and the government and an announcement is expected to be made this week.

Such an arrangement could mean power and influence is shifted from central government to the North East, particularly in areas that drive local growth, including regeneration, affordable housing, local transport, and skills.

The group, comprising leaders from County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, and Sunderland, called for a package reflecting the diverse urban, rural, and coastal communities they represent.

If approved, the new powers would be in addition to the devolved powers given to the new North East Combined Authority in May, after the election of a mayor.

Council leaders will form the Cabinet of the new authority with the elected mayor and make joint decisions on the future of the region.

The leaders said: "When we negotiated the original deal one of our key demands was the right to negotiate a further bespoke deal that works for our region.

"Nobody in Whitehall can understand the region better than local leaders who represent their communities.

"Devolving more powers to us will help us to bring power closer to the communities we serve.

"We are calling for an announcement that reflects our unique mix of urban, rural and coastal communities.

"We are looking for more powers that will help us drive investment in our economy, deliver more affordable homes, power the cultural sector and equip people with the skills they need to succeed.

“We have laid down what we need from government to deliver on our vision to create a better way of life for people and make the North East an outstanding place to live, work visit and invest.

“The challenge is now with the government to deliver on what we need and we remain hopeful that a positive announcement will come this week.”

The North East is one of only three regions, including Greater Manchester and West Midlands, negotiating the 'trailblazer' deals.