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Development at Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate receives boost from Local Growth Fund

 

We have awarded funding to support the development of a new commercial business unit on the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate through the Local Growth Fund.

UK Land Estates, which is leading the project to create 52,939 square feet (4,920 square metres) of new business space, has received £1,359,322 from the North East LEP’s Local Growth Fund that helps support economic asset and infrastructure projects across the North East LEP area.

The Intersect 19 project marks the first speculative development on the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate since the 2008 recession.

Tim Witty, Development Director at UK Land Estates, said:

The development is fantastic news for Tyneside and the wider region. This high specification unit will offer 52,939 square feet of modern high bay manufacturing space with 9.8m eaves height, good power availability and the capability to provide 20t overhead craneage. UK Land Estates are keen to hear from businesses looking to grow their business in 2017.

Work will commence on site on 6 February with a target completion date of 1 September 2017.

The £220.4m Local Growth Fund, secured as part of the North East Growth Deal, supports the North East LEP’s delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to create 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

David Land, Board Member of the North East LEP, said:

As one of the key employment sites identified in our Strategic Economic Plan, we’re delighted to be able to support this ambitious project that will encourage more manufacturing growth and job creation in North Tyneside.

Businesses in our region, particularly growing SMEs, are looking for new, state of-the-art facilities. By investing and developing in infrastructure we can help create more and better jobs for the North East.

Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate is strategically located in North Tyneside meaning it is well placed to serve manufacturers with supply chains north and south of the River Tyne. The major investments made in improvements to the local road network, including the dualled Tyne Tunnel and ongoing works to the A19/A1058 Coast Road junction, will ensure the estate continues to benefit from good accessibility to the wider North East region and beyond.

Over the past five years UK Land Estates has invested in excess of £6 million on a programme of refurbishments that have revitalised the estate.

UK Land Estates were advised by Tynemouth based Almere Consulting.  Tom Bailey, Managing Director of Almere Consulting, said:

We are tremendously appreciative of the support for the project that we’ve had from both North Tyneside Council and the North East LEP.

The Intersect 19 development at Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate is one of 11 new projects across the North East to receive investment from the Local Growth Fund in 2016/17.

 

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Andrew Hodgson gives his view on devolution

In his latest column for the Journal newspaper, North East LEP Chair Andrew Hodgson gave an update on recent talks around a devolution deal:

As Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, I’ve made it clear in the past and reiterate my belief that it makes economic sense for a devolution deal to encompass the whole of North East LEP area. For me it’s not about political ideology or money, it’s that making local decisions on local strategic issues is common sense.

The subject is very much back on the political agenda with talks taking place between the three local authorities North of the River Tyne – Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside – and Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, to strike a deal for their area.

It’s clear that despite a huge effort from the LEP and the business community, the seven North East local authorities are not in a position to progress devolution together at this time.

I also appreciate the importance of progressing devolution to a timetable where the North East is not left behind the rest of the country, which in the eyes of Government is to have a mayor by 2018 – a very challenging timetable.

Therefore, we will work with the three councils and any other councils who wish to move towards a devolution deal, to ensure a devolution deal in the North East has business-focused outcomes.

I have confirmed the LEP’s position with both the Government and the north of Tyne councils and insisted that the door must be left open for all, or any, of the local authorities south of the Tyne who may decide in future that they would like to pursue this current devolution opportunity.

I fully respect the decision made by local authority elected representatives and officials south of the Tyne that the terms offered by Government at present are not ones they feel they can recommend to the people they represent. We will continue to ensure businesses in the south of the region are not disadvantaged by the on-going discussions.

Any deal for the north of the region should have the delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) at its heart to boost economic growth.

We’ve been refreshing our SEP and are looking forward to profiling the immense progress that has been made in terms of its delivery and contribution to increasing our economy.

Taking local control over finance and powers for areas such as housing, skills and transport can only help our growth and successfully deliver the bold agenda set out in the SEP.

For example, securing £380m in North East Growth Deal funding, piloting the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks programme, funded by the Gatsby Foundation, with 16 schools and colleges, and creating a North East Innovation Board of industry leaders to steer major investment projects are all important milestones – but need to be built upon by any devolution deal.

We’ve come far and achieved much in a short space of time, but there’s still a long way to go for the North East economy to contribute its full worth to the Northern Powerhouse and UK.

 

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Government boosts North East’s Local Growth Fund allocation by further £49.7m

A £49.7 million allocation of Local Growth Funding from Government has taken the 2015-2021 total for the North East to £379.6 million.

The majority of the funding will be used as investment into the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) near Nissan, which will secure 5,200 jobs for the North East economy by 2027.

The IAMP is a 100-hectare site that bridges South Tyneside and Sunderland and aims to provide a world-class environment for high-tech industries and advanced manufacturing businesses on a site just north of Nissan’s existing manufacturing plant.
The IAMP will bring huge benefits for the North East Economy and will support and grow the established supply chain in the area.

The Park will significantly strengthen the region’s reputation as the UK’s automotive sector national hub and show case the smart specialisations skills of the North East and help increase the offer to inward investors.

Andrew Hodgson, North East Local Enterprise Partnership Chair, said: ‘This latest growth deal allows the North East LEP to invest and drive forward the delivery of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park. We will work with our local authority partners, North East Automotive Alliance and the private sector to deliver this vitally important scheme, which is of strategic importance not only for the North East, but for the UKs industrial strategy.’

“The Government has chosen not to back our full Local Growth Fund bid which is deeply disappointing and potentially damaging to our Strategic Economic Plan to grow the North East economy.

“Our LGF allocation gives us no scope to fund a range of projects which would have driven new growth and provided real impetus to business development – as well as giving the North East the chance to contribute more fully to the Government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda.”

There will also be a small allocation to fund a Business, Innovation and Skills Infrastructure programme which will support businesses seeking to grow and develop, and provide workers with the necessary facilities needed to improve their skills.

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£26m ERDF call for organisations to lead North East growth and tackle flood dangers

Innovation, high growth businesses and reducing flood risks headline a new £26m call for applications from the European Union in the North East.

The latest round of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment earmarked for the region seeks expert partners to deliver maximum return on the £26m cash pot.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership works closely with Government to ensure that the European Funding allocation is aligned to projects that help deliver the North East Strategic Economic Plan.

The latest funding round consists of:

 

• Up to £16m to promote research and innovation. The North East LEP has a goal of making the region an innovation hotspot in Europe.

Investment will concentrate on backing companies working in the North East’s four ‘smart specialisation’ areas of passenger vehicle manufacturing, subsea and offshore technology, life sciences and healthcare and creative and digital industries

• Up to £2.5m to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium sized firms. This investment is looking to increase the density of high growth SMEs in the North East LEP area.

These firms have a disproportionately high positive impact on regional growth – in 2014 it is estimated the North East had 600 high growth companies with a combined turnover of £2.4bn and 21,000 employees. A 25% increase on 2014’s figure could generate an extra £186m of regional GVA and create nearly 4,000 new jobs

• Up to £8.6m to address specific environmental risks, ensuring disaster resilience and developing disaster management systems.

In the North East LEP area there is a determination to reduce the risks from flooding and climate change. Local partners are being sought to find innovative and new ways to reduce flood and erosion risk to economic infrastructure and businesses, enabling them to survive, thrive and grow.

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair, said: “The UK is still very much in the European Union and until we leave it, the North East LEP is determined to take the maximum opportunities for the regional economy from the investment offered by the ERDF programme.

“This new funding call presents a real opportunity for North East businesses and organisations which I urge them to pursue if they have a viable project which meets ERDF objectives.

“I would urge companies and organisations wanting to know more to visit the North East LEP website for more information.”

The North East LEP will be holding an information event giving more detail about the calls on 5 January 2017. To register to attend the event, please click here.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has extended the European Union funding guarantee to the point of Brexit, confirming that the Government will honour European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) projects signed before Britain leaves the EU.

The 2014-2020 ESIF are planned to inject more than £437m into the North East. ERDF is part of the total ESIF North East allocation.

Ends.

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North East LEP Autumn Statement reaction

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership today welcomed Government focus on boosting productivity through infrastructure, innovation and business growth measures in the Autumn Statement.

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair said:

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s focus on raising national productivity through substantial infrastructure and innovation investment mirrors the approach of the North East’s Strategic Economic Plan.

We welcome the Chancellor’s recognition that we are making a stronger contribution to the national economy through the creation of more and better jobs.

The Government has committed to investing £23bn into a National Productivity Investment Fund to boost innovation and infrastructure over the next five years which provides opportunities for our region to exploit.

We welcome the Chancellor’s focus on 5G broadband development through a £1bn fund and trials programme – the region has written to the Chancellor with a proposal to create a trial site for 5G in the North East.

The £220m funding for pinch points on strategic roads gives the North East an opportunity to further develop schemes in relation to the strategic highway network in the region.

Investment into the ultra-low emission vehicles sector represents a major opportunity for the North East with its strong automotive sector and highly developed low carbon vehicle programme.

We are delighted that our joint proposal for a Science and Innovation Audit with other Northern LEPs will be going ahead in round two.

A group of tax changes will benefit companies in the region’s rural and urban communities.

We look forward to learning in the coming days the allocation of funding to the individual Northern LEPs through the Local Growth Fund to finance strategic capital projects.

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Deal signed for new £145m super fund for the North East

A £145m super fund to support the growth of hundreds of North East businesses will go live early next year after an agreement was signed today.

The North East Fund – formerly known as JEREMIE 2 – will offer different types of equity investments and loans to firms to drive local growth, investment and job creation in the region.

The agreement has been signed by the seven Local Authorities in the North East, North East (SPV) Limited and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which has responsibility for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in England.

The announcement has been heralded as a milestone in public sector support for regional business growth and will be a catalyst to access significant European Investment Bank (EIB) investment.

Over the next five years, the North East Fund will pump loan, equity and mezzanine funding into new and existing fast-growing businesses across a wide range of sectors which will spearhead new regional economic growth.

The North East LEP led the project team negotiating for the region, and agreed with Government to develop the North East Fund at the Autumn Statement last year, to ensure that the super fund would be managed and spent exclusively in the North East. It sits alongside the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) operating in other LEP areas to drive business growth right across the Northern Powerhouse.

The new fund combines ERDF backing with EIB finance and legacy money generated from historical funds which have operated in the North East LEP area since 2003.

It is estimated that the North East Fund could provide financial support for 600 businesses; help create around 2,500 jobs in the next five years and a further 1,000 jobs throughout the life of the fund – and deliver a legacy fund of up to £80m over the next decade for further financial support to companies.

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair, said:

Securing The North East Fund for investment into our region is fantastic news and the result of many months of hard work by regional partners with Government.

“The agreement signed today with Government ensures the Fund stays in the North East, to back the investment plans of our fastest growing, brightest firms. It is a prime example of public sector partners working together to achieve maximum return for the North East economy.

Councillor Paul Watson, Chair of the North East Combined Authority (NECA), said:

The first round of funding was a very successful scheme. It’s very pleasing to know that our region has now secured a second funding scheme.

Businesses need access to finance because it helps them to plan ahead, to grow and expand, and to create jobs and economic growth in the North East.

Andrew Mitchell, of the Project Team charged by North East LEP with delivering the Fund, said:

This is great news for the region. Despite the uncertainty created by the Referendum, this is a vote of confidence in the North East on the part of the European Investment Bank which will be a key partner in the fund. The commitment of North East LEP, the seven local authorities and Government to delivering a regional fund has been crucial in unlocking this programme.

Stephen Lightley, Chief Executive Officer of North East Access to Finance Limited, said:

It is great news that Government approval has been secured for the North East Fund and that the North East LEP’s share of the financial legacy of the public sector SME investment funds that invested from 2003 to 2009, is providing a key element of the finance for the new fund. It was always the vision of local stakeholders that returns from these older funds would be redeployed into future funds and now it is being achieved.

The NECA Leadership Board agreed to put special local authority borrowing powers in place which ensured the North East Fund will be ready to invest in 2017, after the hugely successful Finance for Business North East Fund stops investing in December.

That fund invested £147m into 900 North East and Tees Valley companies and to date has created almost 3,300 new jobs, safeguarded a further 3,300 and brought over £160m of further private sector investment to the region.

It is envisaged that the North East Fund will help finance viable firms unable or partially unable to secure loan funding from the banks and other sources.

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£2m Port of Blyth Training Centre opens

The Duchess of Northumberland has opened the latest phase of a wide ranging development at the Port of Blyth dedicated to the provision of education, training and opportunities.

Once famous for coal, the port is now a leading offshore energy base in the North East and has this week opened the doors to a £2m training centre designed to prepare the UK port services, offshore and renewable energy workforces of the future.

The second phase of a development known as the Blyth Education and Community Hub (BEACH) sees the Port partner with award winning training provider Port Training Services, Newcastle University, Northumberland College and other regional partners.

Whilst the development offers Newcastle University students the use of state-of-the-art research facilities including the Emerson Cavitation Tunnel Laboratory, the centre will also host landmark renewable energy related training courses from Northumberland College – some of the only course of their type available in the UK.

Port of Blyth’s training subsidiary Port Training Services is to develop its offering of NVQ’s and plant training, while enhancing its delivery of apprenticeships and community engagement through a thriving schools partnership and an innovative tie in with the Blyth Tall Ship charity, who deliver training and create opportunities for local young people not in education or employment.

Whilst all partners in the project have committed notable funds to the development, this latest phase of the hub has attracted significant funding from the Coastal Communities Fund, North East LEP and Sport England.

Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive of Port of Blyth, said: “We’re delighted that the Duchess of Northumberland was able to join us again – having opened phase one of this development – to launch a second phase that will offer the people of Blyth, South East Northumberland and beyond significant opportunities for training, education and ultimately employment”.

Phase one of the Blyth Education and Community Hub, which opened in 2014, delivered a maritime heritage centre, an Engineering and Marine Science base for Newcastle University as well as a new facility for the training and community outreach charity Blyth Tall Ship and striking home for the Blyth Boathouse restaurant. Investment in phases 1 and 2 totals £3.5m.

Part of the project’s funding – £400,000 – was from the North East LEP as part of the North East Growth Deal from Government. The Local Growth Fund supports major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport across the North East LEP area.

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The Rural Growth Network: in conversation with North East LEP Board Member Gillian Hall

Evaluation of the Rural Growth Network pilot programme

Since 2012 we’ve seen the Rural Growth Network (RGN) working to stimulate economic growth in the North East’s rural areas and communities. This has included identifying the key issues which face businesses in these rural areas; assisting businesses with either financial support or business advice; helping to create enterprise hubs; and providing capital investment to support employment and business growth in the rural economy.

In the North East, the RGN pilot project began in 2012 with £3.2m of funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra has recently completed its evaluation of the national RGN pilot phase, looking at the impact made by the Networks’ support to the rural economy across the UK. I was interested to be able to review some of the key findings which have emerged from the report and am pleased to see evidence of the project’s impact, including:

  • For every £1 of Defra RGN investment spent by the end of September 2015, the return on investment will be around £6.60 by the end of the next three years
  • The pilot initiative helped to create or safeguard over 2,200 jobs
  • It also helped to create over 700 businesses
  • The RGN support has brought about a range of soft outcomes, including building skills and capacity in the areas of enterprise and business growth, addressing confidence issues and creating sustainable business networks.

Here in the North East, we had some specific targets for the region’s RGN pilot project, including the aim to support the creation of 300 new jobs and 40 new businesses.

In fact, both these targets were exceeded during the three year project, with nearly 200 new businesses helped to establish themselves. The pilot achieved 100 enterprise spaces in 13 enterprise hubs. The network has grown successfully and there are now 36 enterprise hubs across the rural North East, from Berwick to Bishop Auckland, Amble to Allendale.

Following these successes, the North East LEP and central Government allocated a further £6m of Local Growth Funding to phase two of the North East RGN, over a five year period to 2020. The new capital programme aims to support rural businesses and stimulate business growth within the rural areas of Northumberland, Durham and Gateshead.

Projects which have already received support from the North East RGN include The Sill – this ambitious £14.2 million initiative will result in a new Landscape Discovery Centre and YHA Youth Hostel, transforming how people explore the landscapes, history and heritage of Northumberland and also delivering substantial economic benefits to the area.

In Tyne and Wear, the Kibblesworth Village Millennium Centre secured over £40,000 in support from the Rural Growth Network to support the project, which includes the creation of three iconic enterprise pods and conversion of space in the centre building to create further office accommodation, informal business meeting space and toilet facilities.

Between now and 2020, the North East RGN is set to help create more and better jobs in the North East’s rural economy.

Find out more about the North East RGN.
Find out about the business space on offer at www.ruralconnect.biz 

Gillian Hall, North East LEP Board Member.

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In Conversation with North East LEP Chair, Andrew Hodgson: North Easy Ready To Capitalise on EU Funding Guarantee

The North East ready to capitalise on EU funding guarantee.

The announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond extending the European Union funding guarantee to the point of Brexit is an opportunity the North East is determined to seize.

Confirmation that the Government will honour structural and investment fund projects signed before we have left the EU is welcome news.

We now hope that this signals that the programmes will start to flow again.

In the North East, we are ready, poised and waiting with our partners to ensure those projects in the pipeline get over the line and secure much needed EU funding.

The Government is clear about the criteria projects must meet for this to happen.

They must continue to meet EU funding rules but must also demonstrate good value for money and be in line with domestic strategic priorities.

In the North East, we have a very strong pipeline of projects.

Many of them are aligned with the priorities of the refreshed North East Strategic Economic Plan, produced after widespread consultation by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership with its partners.

It’s about making sure that we all have those projects lined up and ready to respond to any opportunities that might be forthcoming.

And the only way to get more projects to come forward now is to have more application rounds or calls.

We are waiting for Government to press the button and invite more applications which could be before or after the Autumn Statement on 23 November.

We know where we are going with a clear vision and plan and it’s the LEP’s role to make sure that the strategically important projects are supported by our local partners.

It’s important at this point to take stock of what is at stake here and why this investment is so important to our region.

The North East was originally allocated £437m in European Structural Funds up to 2020. Out of that central pot, at present over £198m remains unallocated.

Some of this funding is earmarked to support business growth and job creation. The LEP and partners recognise the need to support more business start-ups, create more growth through innovation, and support more small and medium sized businesses to export.

The European Social Fund is funding earmarked for skills and employment support, helping the unemployed and economically inactive back into work and supporting those in work to up-skill and re-skill. This will mean employees in the workplace will get the opportunity to progress their careers, and to provide them with the opportunity to progress from part-time to full-time work.

We also have key sectors that we need to support with digital skills, a need identified in the work we did with the business community in the SEP refresh and a key Government priority.

We need to ensure that people within traditional industries have the skills to allow them to take the career progression opportunities further up the ladder.

In the healthcare sector for example, one of the gaps we can see emerging is the need for more skilled individuals able to support the sector’s growth.

The 50-plus workforce could lend itself well to this sector, they have the capability to fill these roles given their life experience, but they need new skill sets to take those opportunities.

We are saying to Government that we are ready and poised and we know what our priorities are.

We will work tirelessly to take the funding opportunities when they arrive.

North East England is one of the UK regions which needs EU funding most, with a proven track record of investing it well.

If this money is committed, it could see our region with structural funding in place up to 2021-2022, which gives Government the time to create the new policies to have new funding streams in place for the period after this.

There is a need to do this. Let’s get this moving and let’s do this well.