North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group: An update from Helen Golightly
The North East COVID-19 Response Group
The North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group, set up by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), CBI, North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities, with the support of industry, aims to provide maximum support for businesses in the immediate term and is planning for long-term economic recovery to ensure the region has strong and collaborative economic leadership as we work through the impacts of the measures introduced to slow the spread of the virus.
The immediate focus is on supporting businesses to remain operational, to keep people in employment, to understand and respond to the impact on education and our communities, and to work with partners to solve industry challenges.
By coordinating one response to the economic crisis, we are using our collective influence to reassure the North East public, deliver crucial interventions and lobby Government.
The long-term goal of the North East Covid-19 Response Group is to return the North East to pre-COVID-19 GDP and employment levels.
To do that we need to:
- Support the economy
- Build resilience
- Prepare for recovery
How will we do this?
The North East Covid-19 Response Group will focus on five key areas:
1. Supporting businesses
We will ensure that businesses have access to the most up to date information and support. This is readily available through a COVID-19 toolkit on the North East Growth Hub.
We will work with the North East Business Support Provider Network to develop solutions that will help businesses overcome short term challenges and return to growth once restrictions are lifted.
We will also gather and analyse business intelligence to shape our regional response and inform government about the measures they should take to support business resilience and subsequent growth in the North East.
2. Maintaining people in employment and economic activity
We are working to ensure people are able to stay in employment and that both employers and employees are able to find the information they need to do this.
We are rapidly signposting those who need additional financial support to the correct information.
We will co-ordinate a North East response to the more medium- and longer-term impact on jobs, capitalising on opportunities for redeployment, new emerging roles and supporting people who find themselves out of work.
3. Mobilising partners in the region to solve new problems and challenges
We will lead calls for businesses to respond to the current asks from government and the NHS. Both are looking for solutions to support the response to COVID-19. We will also share details of grant funding available for businesses which can provide solutions to the challenges we currently face.
4. Preparing for the longer-term, with a plan for recovery in the future
Together, we will develop a plan for the future which will get our region moving forward again as quickly as possible, focused on regional economic priorities and on supporting more and better jobs.
5. Co-ordinating the economic voice and using the influence of the region to best effect.
We will coordinate key economic messages from the region back to government, speaking consistently with one voice to ensure North East businesses are heard.