Devolution is expected to bring with it more control and say over key issues for our economic growth such as transport, skills and business support, with £30m to be directed into these areas every year.
This spending power will be devolved to a new mayor, meaning the North East – and not Westminster – will decide where the money goes.
The deal was well received by the business community who will play a central role in driving it forward to maximise its impact on the regional economy.
It is vitally important for the North East that we do not lose the momentum we have generated in signing the deal.
We have to move forward now with the devolution of powers as we all agreed, to enable us to compete with other areas of the North and the wider UK who have agreed similar devolution deals and are now delivering on them.
We are clear that business needs to be at the very heart of the devolution of power and spending.
The world class acumen, knowledge and experience in the North East business community is a rich seam of talent which must be tapped into.
The North East LEP will continue to provide a strong voice for the business community and it is important that it is positioned so that the new mayor has access to a business-led resource with appropriate powers.
Our future focus on investment will include targeting four ‘smart specialisation areas’ where the North East boasts real industrial strength, creating competitive advantage in the global economy.
Low carbon industries, subsea and offshore, digital and creative and pharmaceuticals are sectors oozing talent, creativity and growth.
The North East’s strategic economic plan to deliver 100,000 more and better jobs sets an ambitious vision for the next decade.
We are delighted the Government is supporting our proposals to help make this happen with significant investment.
The recent Comprehensive Spending Review announced that we had been successful in our bid for a new North East Enterprise Zone, comprising 10 sites around our LEP area. This is only the start of funding packages and investment in place to help us grow the North East LEP area and make it a successful place in which to do business.