Welcome to our 2014 – 2015 Annual Review
Over the last twelve months we’ve seen real change happening in the North East. With record employment levels – now at 70.2% – and the largest employment rate increase in the country at 3.2%, we are rapidly closing the gap and realising the North East’s potential.
During this period the North East LEP has also evolved – moving from a focus on strategic leadership to delivering an ambitious plan for long term and sustainable economic growth.
A defining moment in this journey was the publication of our Strategic Economic Plan. The plan articulates with clarity and purpose how we will meet the challenges set out in Lord Adonis’s Independent Economic Review, and focussing on six themes, innovation; business support and access to finance; skills; economic assets and infrastructure; employability and inclusion; and transport and connectivity, it sets out plans to realise a common ambition of growth.
Since its launch in March 2014 the Economic Plan has become the core of our work, attracting £330m in funding from Government as part of the North East Growth Deal. Through it we secured the fourth highest Growth Deal in the country – endorsing our approach and enabling us to secure substantial private and public investment and deliver up to 5,000 jobs.
The North East innovation story is also gaining momentum – including the appointment of our first Innovation Director – Hans Möller, and the £460m European funding programme will bring great opportunities in the next year. We will also be launching JEREMIE 2 and the North East Growth Hub.
We have achieved a lot – through our small, dedicated and talented executive team and alongside our board members and partners, – the challenges and opportunities of the last 12 months have been met with enthusiasm and commitment. The next year looks extremely busy and we will continue to build the momentum and deliver more and better jobs for the North East.
Paul Woolston Helen Golightly
Chair Chief Operating Officer