The North East Local Enterprise Partnership has secured £290m investment which will create thousands of new jobs for the North East.
The investment is part of the government’s Growth Deal, which was announced today (Monday 7 July), and provides the North East with a significant funding to take forward its plans for economic growth.
The substantial investment which will create over 4,000 new jobs and deliver £90m in additional public and private sector funding, is clear recognition from government of the North East’s ability to work in partnership and achieve its ambitious plans.
The £290m, which is the third highest allocation in the country, will support projects that were set out in the LEP’s North East Strategic Economic Plan ‘More and Better Jobs’. The plan, which builds on from Lord Adonis’s North East Independent Economic Review and was developed with local partners and businesses, provides a comprehensive plan to create sustainable and inclusive growth for the North East.
The North East’s Growth Deal will provide funding for each of the themes within the economic plan investing in projects around innovation, skills, business support, transport, developing economic assets and supporting inclusive growth.
On top of the investment the deal also includes a commitment from government to work with the enterprise partnership to bring forward plans around improving educational attainment and developing a new development and infrastructure fund for the North East.
The key features of the Growth Deal for the North East LEP are:
Investment in economic assets and transport: Funding for a comprehensive package of investment to ensure the North East has the infrastructure and facilities to support inward investment and regional growth. For example allowing companies involved in supplying Hitachi Rail Europe to locate close to its new facilities at Merchant Park, and a project to create rural ‘enterprise hubs’ proving flexible workspace for small businesses.
Investment in innovation:
Funding for a number of projects to support technological advances in key industries, helping the North East achieve its innovation vision and become an exemplar in Smart Specialisation and open innovation. For example, Sunderland Enterprise and Innovation Hub, which will provide the first ‘Fab Lab’ in the North East.
Funding and commitment to support improving educational attainment and training available to local people in skills which are important for growing sectors including advanced manufacturing, offshore wind and low carbon energy technologies.
Paul Woolston, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Our economic plan ‘more and better jobs’ set an ambitious vision for the North East, to transform the economy and create more and better jobs. We are delighted that government is supporting our proposals with such a significant investment.
“Our £290m Growth Deal endorses our approach providing investment for innovation, skills, business support, transport, developing our economic assets and supporting inclusive growth. It also sets out a clear commitment to work closely with the enterprise partnership to bring forward proposals around improving educational attainment and a new development and investment fund.
“The deal will act as a catalyst to lever in substantial private and public investment. It builds on the great work that is already happening across the North East and will create more and better jobs for everyone through making, trading and innovating to provide sustainable and long term growth.
“It marks the beginning of an exciting journey for the North East, and I’m looking forward to working with our partners and government to make it happen.”
Simon Henig, Chair of the North East Combined Authority and Vice Chair of the North East LEP said: “Our successful bids to the Single Local Growth Fund are a massive vote of confidence in the North East and will potentially mean a major boost to the region’s economy. The projects will not only increase job prospects across the North East but also improve transport links to make sure that people are able to take advantage of them. The multi-million pound package of investments could bring thousands of additional permanent jobs to the region, boosting our economy for years to come.”
Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Vice Chair and Board member lead for skills said: “The Strategic Economic Plan clearly demonstrated the essential role skills plays in driving forward long term economic growth. At the enterprise partnership we have placed the focus firmly on skills from the outset and it’s great that the Growth Deal is supporting our position.
“The business community now has a central role to play in ensuring we achieve our vision. Business leaders and our partners have already demonstrated their commitment to take forward these plans and now the Deal will provide an essential resource to help deliver them.
“At the heart of our proposals is a partnership of schools, local education authorities and businesses with a commitment to build on the recommendations of the North East Independent Economic Review to improve educational attainment across our schools. The growth deal support is the deal-maker to give it the mandate to deliver change.”
Roy Sandbach, North East LEP Innovation Champion said: “It is fantastic news that these projects have been supported through the Local Growth Fund. At the heart of our Economic Plan, the Enterprise Partnership is aiming to facilitate highly effective innovation activity by building our innovation hubs, supporting innovation-centric businesses, small and large and by providing the type of environment which can attract innovation opportunities and investments from across the globe. These 5 new developments will add considerably to our capacity to deliver this.”