THE planned devolution deal for the North-East has been thrown into confusion after two more councils refused to sign up to the current Government proposal.

Durham County Council’s cabinet voted this morning against signing up immediately to the proposed deal, demanding to see further detail before pressing ahead.

Cllr Simon Henig, Durham County Council leader, said fair funding for the region needed to be in place to make the deal work and added: “It needs to be the right decision for the North-East and we need to take time to get it right.”

Deputy leader Cllr Alan Napier said “no-one of sane mind” would sign the devolution deal until they fully knew what was on offer.

Later, Sunderland's cabinet agreed to defer a decision until receiving further clarification.

The decisions follow a vote yesterday by Gateshead Council’s cabinet to reject the proposals and seem likely to postpone the devolution process. Three local authorities – Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland – have accepted the offer.

Under the proposed deal, Chancellor George Osborne offered to hand over some powers over economic development, transport, housing and planning along with a £30m-a-year investment fund.

But the seven North-East councils which form the North East Combined Authority would have to agree to new elected mayor for the region as part of the deal.

Critics including a number of the region’s MPs, have also raised concerns that they were being asked to sign up to the deal before the full details were known, including whether the new mayor would have tax-raising powers.

South Tyneside council will discuss the deal tomorrow morning, before the North East Combined Authority, which brings together all seven, meets tomorrow afternoon.