I really hope that the 7 Labour led local authorities embrace the future, and seek to copy what all the great regions of the world have done - whether it is London, Greater Manchester or huge tracts of Germany, where a regional approach, led by a Mayor, has shown massive advances in economic prosperity, jobs, and integrated public services from transport to health.
The question to be asked is whether our region wants the statutory powers over everything from health to police and transport as Labour run Greater Manchester is about to enjoy? This is about whether you wish to look forward, join together and allow a region to fulfil its potential. We are at a genuine tipping point.
Other regions like Greater Yorkshire and the West Midlands can see the massive benefit of these plans. At the same stage Scotland is getting the biggest regional devolution of them all with the Scotland Act and the implementing of the Smith Commission over the next 12 months.
We need the North East council leaders at the 7 local authorities, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the business leaders at the NECC, CBI and FSB to get on board.
The text of the Bill published on Friday is here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2015-2016/0001/lbill_2015-20160001_en_1.htm