EIGHT North-East council projects have been given a share of £1.9m to promote innovative e-projects.

Local Government Minister Chris Leslie announced the partnership awards yesterday.

The money has been awarded to projects which use the latest technology to give local people better access to improved council services.

Darlington Borough Council has been awarded £210,000 to make the Internet accessible to more people in the community and to improve customer services.

Hartlepool Borough Council will spend £250,000 looking at how it can use the Internet to improve services for people in socially-excluded groups.

Mr Leslie said: "Projects like this help councils deliver better services to local people. "Every local authority in England is now participating in at least one e-government partnership. These partnerships show that working together can benefit everyone - the partners and the communities they serve."

Other authorities to receive money include Gateshead Borough Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, and North and South Tyneside borough councils.

The funding is part of the Government's £350m commitment to support local e-government over three years.