The North East Local Enterprise Partnership has unveiled its ambitious vision for the area’s economy to provide over one million jobs by 2024. ‘More and Better Jobs: A Strategic Economic Plan for the North East’ builds on the recommendations of last year’s Independent Economic Review chaired by Lord Andrew Adonis and presents a clear sense of direction for the area’s future. The plan sets out an agenda to create 100,000 new jobs in the next decade, equivalent to an 11% increase in employment.
The plan commits the enterprise partnership to fund the design of a North East Schools Challenge and seeks the support of government to join an alliance between schools, businesses and local education authorities to tackle disparities in educational performance across the area.
The plan also proposes the establishment of a new North East Development and Investment Fund. This innovative, locally-led solution would unlock economic assets and infrastructure and deliver greater value through better coordination of public funds and assets to leverage private sector investment in the area.
Paul Woolston, chair of the North East LEP, said: “The North East Strategic Economic Plan sets out an ambitious vision for the area, but our recent economic performance tells us that it is entirely achievable. In recent years our businesses and people have outperformed national growth rates for output, productivity and employment. In just twelve months, nearly 20,000 additional jobs have been created.
“In response to the findings of the independent review and following extensive engagement with local stakeholders and partners, we have drawn up a comprehensive plan which builds on recent momentum to deliver employment and economic growth in the area.
“We will direct Government and European funding to areas where they will have greatest impact in creating and sustaining more and better jobs to grow our economy.”
Building on the political leadership of the Combined Authority, the plan provides a clear pathway for local decision-making and the joint roles of the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Combined Authority. Councillor Henig, chair of the Combined Authority, said: “The establishment of a Combined Authority is an important milestone in strengthening local decision-making and demonstrates the commitment of political leaders in the North East to working together to deliver this shared ambition for economic growth.”
The plan builds upon proposals for allocating European Structural and Investment Funds between 2014 and 2020 and sets out the area’s bid to the Local Growth Fund. In total the plan seeks to invest £1.6bn of public and private funds to create more and better jobs across six key themes: innovation; business support and access to finance; skills; employability and inclusion; economic assets and infrastructure; and transport and digital connectivity.
The Strategic Economic Plan for the North East was submitted to government on 31 March 2014. The commercial sensitivity of information included in this submission on individual projects bidding to the Local Growth Fund has necessitated a process of redaction to produce this public document. We expect that further information on individual projects will be released in due course as the competitive process of Local Growth Fund bidding comes to a conclusion later this year.