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In conversation with Andrew Moffat CBE, Chair of the North East LEP’s Investment Board, about the LEP’s annual review and the role investment has played in supporting the region’s economic recovery from COVID-19

In a period of uncertainty, it’s easy to get sidetracked. But over the last couple of years, the North East LEP has been able to maintain its longer-term strategic plan, while providing businesses and organisations with the support they need to keep moving.

In August 2020, the Government announced a fund investing £1.3bn into homes, infrastructure and jobs.

The Getting Building Fund looked to deliver up to 45,000 homes, create 85,000 jobs and boost skills and infrastructure nationwide. The North East LEP received £47m from government, which it topped up with a further £8m.

Over the next eight months, it moved quickly to arrange investment into 16 projects, which are anticipated to be well on the way to completion by spring 2022. These include the NUCASTLE facility for accessible learning and recreation, and the new South Tyneside Council Glassworks office development.

The North East LEP has a track record of supporting the right schemes in a timely manner. Andrew Moffat CBE chair of its Investment Board says that “when the government allocates funds to us – we spend them, in the time they require, and spend them effectively. They have confidence that we’ll deliver, and therefore next time, they might give us more.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve looked at where the gaps are in government funding, and tried to help. This includes a supply chain initiative for PPE, and an Innovation Challenge supporting businesses who are solving COVID-related problems. We also launched a crowdfunder scheme, which invested £471,000 into local small and micro businesses with the help of our generous community whose contributions we matched.

“As businesses bounce back, we’ll be looking to give them the support they need. We’ve called on government to back our ambitious £2.8bn Recovery and Renewal Deal, helping us build a greener, more innovative and resilient economy. We’re also providing direct support to businesses, through our investment programmes, and our Growth Hub support.

“COVID-19 has required us to collaborate and listen more than ever. We’ve acted quickly and decisively, and I’m really proud of the work our whole team has done. But we’re still carrying on with the work we’ve been doing for nearly a decade. We’re still committed to our Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to create 100,000 more and better jobs for the region.

“So far, the LEP has secured over a billion pounds in funding which in turn has secured more than another £1.6 billion of private sector investment in the region. We’re continuing to build on our strengths in Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Health and Life Sciences and Digital. Our Local Growth Fund has distributed £270m over six years to strategic capital projects, while our Enterprise Zone funding has invested £65m, with a further £100m forecast by 2025.

“We’re also always looking at what’s happening globally, identifying which and how sectors are growing and evolving. Because, when opportunities arise, we want to support the region in harnessing them. We seek to make the necessary investments to ensure we’re prepared, whether that’s getting a brownfield site ready for development, or working with an investor or company to seize market opportunities.

“There are many examples where this strategy is already bearing fruit. The International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) is a great example. The NewcastleGateshead Quays project is nearly off the blocks, and we’re working closely to support the redevelopment at Port of Blyth – as well as assisting other ports and operators in the region.

“We’re not alone. We’re working with many partners from all over the region to make the right choices to help the North East economy grow and thrive. Together, we have gained a fantastic reputation that includes a track record of delivery, whilst at the same time our strategic approach has allowed us to be on the front foot, and always ready for the next opportunity to gain access to government funding and help deliver real economic benefit to the region.”

Andrew Moffat CBE is the Chair of the North East LEP’s Investment Board.

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Regional health innovation experts help Dräger UK secure multimillion-pound PPE deal

Blyth-based Dräger is due to begin a lucrative contract supplying the government with respiratory masks following support from three key regional organisations.

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), the Innovation SuperNetwork and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) worked in collaboration to provide expert guidance to help strengthen Dräger’s pitch to government to supply the NHS with respiratory protection masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was announced last month that the government has now placed a multimillion-pound order with Dräger to supply respiratory protection masks (FFP3) over the course of this year and next.

The deal will bring investment and jobs into the region as the company plans to set up a mask production operation based in Blyth, Northumberland, alongside four other production sites across the globe.

Alex Duthie, UK Sales Director, Dräger, said: “The AHSN NENC were invaluable to our bid for the PPE Government contract. They were able to get our name to the right people and assisted in building our profile as an existing and trusted supplier within the NHS. Whenever an opportunity arose, the AHSN NENC, Innovation SuperNetwork and North East LEP were advocates of ours, and we couldn’t have done it without them.”

The Innovation SuperNetwork contacted Dräger earlier this year after learning they were keen to open a PPE manufacturing plant in response to the growing demand for respiratory masks during the pandemic. The Innovation SuperNetwork then introduced the local Dräger team to the AHSN NENC, which is a key member of NHS England’s regional emergency response procurement cell.

The AHSN NENC worked closely with Dräger to develop a proposal around its manufacturing plans which was pitched to the regional and national leads involved in the NHS procurement cell.

In addition, the AHSN NENC also coordinated with NHS Trusts across the region to provide samples of Dräger’s products which received positive responses from the frontline.

Stephen Lynn, Business Manager at the AHSN NENC, said: “Gaining access to the NHS can be a difficult and daunting prospect for businesses. The AHSN NENC’s close links with the healthcare system allows us to act as a conduit to help open doors and speed up the process of innovations reaching the frontline.

“We are proud to have been able to support Dräger through this process and we’re delighted that the company is now in a position to expand its PPE manufacturing operation, which will bring vital investment and job opportunities into the region.

“This is a prime example of how by working collaboratively with partners across the region, we can quickly identify, develop and support businesses with innovations that have potential to make a real impact both within the health and care system and the regional economy.”

Steph Oxley, Innovation Manager at the Innovation SuperNetwork, initially supported Dräger and made the introduction to the AHSN NENC. She said: “The successful outcome for Dräger expanding their operation, after engaging with the NHS to understand the long term need for PPE, is a fantastic example of how collaboration across the innovation ecosystem can have immediate and long-term impact for businesses, industries and the local economy. The Innovation SuperNetwork works to embed innovation in key regional clusters, connecting industry with suppliers and enabling partnerships to further innovation and business growth. It’s great to see our intervention in this case led to such a positive result for all involved.”

Alan Welby, Director of Innovation at the North East LEP, said: “This is an excellent example of what can happen with strong leadership, a focus on collaboration and a determination to make things happen.

“It is fantastic to see Dräger secure this multimillion-pound PPE deal which will create many new jobs within the region – what a fantastic outcome from the crisis caused by COVID-19.”

Dräger’s order from the British government to deliver respiratory protection masks (FFP3) will start in 2020 and will stretch until the end of 2021. The expected net sales are roughly EUR 100 million.

A mask production facility will be set up in the UK, in the Blyth area of Northumberland. There, Dräger has had a development and production site for respiratory protection technology for firefighters and industry for over 50 years. This is in addition to the existing production network in Sweden and South Africa and the recently decided new production sites in France and the US. The investment in the expansion of production capacities across all five production sites will require a mid-double-digit million euro amount in the 2020 financial year.

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North East awarded £47m from government to invest in local infrastructure projects

The North East has been awarded up to £47m from government’s Getting Building Fund to start local infrastructure projects that will help the region recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Part of government’s ‘New Deal’ that will deliver jobs, skills and infrastructure for Britain, the funding will be spent on ‘shovel ready’ projects that can be delivered in the next 18 months.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP, said: “This is welcome news from government and demonstrates they have been listening to our region’s collective call for significant investment to help businesses and the economy recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will now work closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to ensure the portfolio of projects are delivered on time and fuel the North East’s economic response to the pandemic.”

Mayor Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Combined Authority, said: “Our economy needs a boost. This £47 million will help us create the local, high-quality jobs we need. The future is in low-carbon industries, like offshore wind and electric vehicles. We’ll be investing in projects that will bring work to the North East.”

Cllr Iain Malcolm, Chair of the North East Combined Authority, said: “This new funding is a welcome step forward as we move ahead with infrastructure plans that will allow our residents and businesses to not just recover but thrive post-COVID-19. The move will drive growth and productivity, both of which are needed right now.”

The Getting Building Fund forms part of government’s New Deal for Britain, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It sets out government’s strategy to rebuild Britain and fuel economic recovery across the UK.

£5bn of the £640bn government plans to spend on capital investment projects over the next five years has been brought forward with £900m being allocated to a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next. The funding will enable local areas to invest in priority infrastructure projects to drive local growth and jobs.

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New Chair and Board Member help to shape investment in region

Andrew Moffat and Mark Thompson
Andrew Moffat and Mark Thompson

Andrew Moffat CBE has been made Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Investment Board, and the Board has also welcomed a new member, Managing Partner of Ryder Architecture, Mark Thompson.





Andrew has been appointed as Chair of the Investment Board having served as a member for the past four years, taking on the role following the departure of former Chair, David Land. Both Andrew and Mark also serve on the main North East LEP Board.

The role of the North East LEP’s Investment Board is to help drive growth within the North East economy by overseeing the delivery of grant and loan funding programmes including the Local Growth Fund, Enterprise Zone investments and the North East Investment Fund.

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East LEP, commented: “The Investment Board is made up of five public and private sector members, plus three non-voting specialist advisers. The appointment of Andrew as Chair and Mark as a board member further strengthens the expertise which oversees the delivery of vital investment into strategic projects across our region.”

Andrew Moffat has extensive experience in financial, commercial and strategic roles in a range of international companies. He joined the Port of Tyne as the Finance and Commercial Director in 2007 before being appointed one year later to Chief Executive, a position he held until 2018 and was named a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours List 2016 for services to the North East economy and UK ports. Andrew was also Chair of the CBI’s Regional Council in the North East and a member of a number of other local partnership boards focused on the delivery of economic regeneration.

Mark Thompson is managing partner of Ryder Architecture, where he is responsible for the strategic development of the highly successful design company with offices across the UK and a growing international portfolio from offices in Hong Kong and Vancouver.

The funding which is overseen by the Investment Board enables the delivery of significant capital and infrastructure projects including for example the regeneration of Sunderland’s former Vaux Brewery site, which will result in high quality office space, leisure facilities, hotel and residential accommodation, the development of a new conference and exhibition centre at Gateshead Quays and the International Advanced Manufacturing park – to name a few

Andrew Moffat said: “As our region looks to the future following the impact of COVID-19, projects like these will help shape our recovery, bringing more and better jobs to the North East.

“The region continues to be an attractive place for investors and the expertise of the Investment Board members, in ensuring that funding is allocated in a way which benefits people in the region, is vital.”

The five members of the North East LEP Investment Board are: Andrew Moffat CBE (Chair); Gillian Hall (Vice Chair); Mark Thompson; Councillor Iain Malcolm (Leader, South Tyneside Council) and Councillor Bruce Pickard (Deputy Elected Mayor, North Tyneside Council). The specialist advisers are: Jason Hobbs (CEO of the North East Fund Ltd); David Furness (Senior Director, BNP Paribas) and Ian Richards (Director, Northstar Ventures).




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In conversation with Andrew Moffat, Board member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), about investment in the East Coast Mainline

A key driver for a strong and resilient economy is good connectivity. Without it, people, goods and data can’t be moved easily and efficiently, which impacts productivity and performance.

Connectivity is even more important to us here in the North East because of our geography. We, more than many other regions in the UK, rely heavily on road, rail, air and sea links to help us do business in the region, across the country and all over the world.

Our assets include the largest light railway system outside of London, an international airport, three major ports and a road network that links us to the rest of the country.

We also have an extensive rail network that provides us with regular and direct services to Scotland, London, Manchester and other key economic hubs in the UK.

Of course to remain competitive and to access markets, it’s essential we continually invest in our infrastructure to ensure it is future proof and fit for purpose. It’s for that reason I support the call for government to pledge significant investment in the East Coast Mainline.

The current East Coast Mainline is unable to cope with growing demand on the route. As well as carrying 15 million passengers from the region each year, the East Coast Mainline is a major freight route that supports the region’s expanding automotive industry and transports goods including coal and biomass.

The line reduces from four to two tracks north of Northallerton, which reduces capacity on the network and impacts its efficiency. Services on the line have also been subject to delays or cancellation because of ongoing under-investment.

For us to achieve the aims set out in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan and ensure the North East remains a key player in the Northern Powerhouse, we must build capacity on the network and make sure it’s ready to support HS2 services by 2033.

As the former Chief Executive of Port of Tyne, I know – first hand – how important our region’s rail system, and particularly the East Coast Mainline, is to our economy. Without it, Port of Tyne would have missed out on major contracts that helped us create jobs and boost the local economy.

Transport for the North is campaigning for better connectivity to unlock the economic potential of the North. Its proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail network would transform how people travel across the North and boost productivity by closing the gap with the South. The East Coast Mainline will have a major role to play so it is vital government make the funding available to carry out works the line so desperately needs.

A recent report into the benefits of investment in the East Coast Mainline found the impact of HS2 and investment in the line between York and Newcastle would generate around £493m of GVA to the UK economy each year and £100.42m GVA per annum for the North East.

As a region we must be better connected so we can access new markets and position ourselves as a major economic hub in the UK. We already have to work harder than other areas because of our physical location but by improving our transport infrastructure and ensuring it’s future proof, we can compete globally, grow our economy, create more and better jobs and bring more investment into the region.

By Andrew Moffat
Board member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership

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North East LEP’s Local Growth Fund reaches half way milestone

More than half of the projects supported through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund have reached completion, marking a major milestone for the £270m fund.

Providing funding to major capital projects in all seven local authority areas, the Local Growth Fund is helping to create jobs, boost the economy and improve the quality of life for people living and working in North East England.

A promotional film – produced by the North East LEP – has been released to celebrate the Local Growth Fund’s halfway milestone. 

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “More than 50 individual projects have received funding through the Local Growth Fund ranging from major infrastructure projects like The International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) in Sunderland and South Tyneside to transformative transport schemes, including the A1058 Coast Road corridor in North Tyneside.

“Funding was awarded to projects that helped achieve the objectives set of out in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to support economic growth, improve productivity and increase the number of people employed in high quality jobs.

“All the projects make the North East a better place to live and work, and the improvements will be felt for generations to come. It’s not just about improving our economy, it’s also about improving quality of life for everyone that lives here.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry MP said: “We are investing in the future of communities across the Northern Powerhouse and the whole country through the Local Growth Fund. The projects already delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership with their share of the fund are changing lives by building the infrastructure, skills, jobs and confidence people need to thrive.

“Our modern Industrial Strategy is backing businesses to create high-paid, highly-skilled jobs in every part of the UK and I’m inspired by what has been achieved in the North East so far.

“I look forward to seeing how people across the North East continue to build on local strengths and embrace opportunities for a prosperous future with support from the Government.”

Heidi Mottram, CEO of Northumbrian Water and Vice Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “When the Local Growth Fund from central government was put into place, we already had our Strategic Economic Plan in place so we hit the ground running.

“The things we believed we needed to invest in included infrastructure and improving transport; but the most important thing was to make sure the workforce here in the North East had the skills for the more and better jobs we’re creating.”

The new video profiles many of the projects supported through the Local Growth Fund, including the creation of a new Centre for Enterprise & Innovation, Hope Street Xchange in Sunderland, Europe’s first dedicated centre for emerging technology, PROTO in Gateshead, and the creation of a new Metro/bus interchange in South Shields town centre and a new learning centre for Tyne and Wear Metro workers. It also features interviews with key people leading each project.

To receive funding through the Local Growth Fund, projects had to demonstrate they could drive innovation and improve support for businesses; support economic inclusion and help develop skills infrastructure; or enhance strategic transport sites and public transport infrastructure.

Major infrastructure projects aimed at creating more and better jobs and further strengthening the North East’s key sectors include The Biosphere at Newcastle Helix, CPI’s National Formulation Centre at NETPark in County Durham, and Vaux in Sunderland’s Central Business District.

Dr. Graeme Cruickshank, Director of Formulation at CPI, said: “The investment in creating these world-class facilities is vital in enabling the North East to retain its core strength in chemistry and formulating sciences, ensuring this expertise is available to small and large companies and academic groups across the UK.

“This support has facilitated us to create new jobs at CPI’s National Formulation Centre and National Healthcare Photonics Centre, both at NETPark, as well as enabling us to directly support the innovation efforts of partners in this region and beyond.”

John Seager, Chief Executive of Siglion, the development partnership leading the Vaux regeneration project, said: “Regeneration projects in difficult markets are all about kick starting investment activity. The LGF funding for Phase 1 at VAUX has provided the essential seeds from which we can grow the ideal environment to attract private sector investment, both financial and in jobs – it’s absolutely transformational to the local economy”

Major road improvement schemes are continuing to take place across the region thanks to investment from the Local Growth Fund. Significant transport projects including the A1056 Weetslade Corridor, A19 and the Arches junction in South Shields will improve traffic flow, provide greater accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists, and support more people to use public transport.

The Local Growth Fund has also helped support sustainable transport projects across the North East in a bid to reduce congestion and protect the environment. Projects have included cycle schemes in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Durham, South Tyneside and North Tyneside, as well as the refurbishment of Central Station Metro in Newcastle.

John Fenwick, Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, said: “We have invested in new facilities for public transport users with support from the Local Growth Fund. This has included the development of a new transport interchange in South Shields and the modernisation of Central station on the Tyne and Wear Metro, in Newcastle.

“The LGF support has also enabled Nexus to invest in its workforce, with the creation of a new learning centre to meet all of our training needs. Construction of this training facility in South Shields town centre is well underway.”

Rural communities across the North East have benefitted from the Local Growth Fund with projects including East Durham College’s Houghall Campus and The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre in Northumberland National Park receiving investment to support the North East’s rural economy and thriving tourism sector.

Tony Gates, Chief Executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “The North East has a unique identity, borne from a strong sense of pride and place, which is driven by the people that live, work and visit here.

“Our rural areas, with their rich natural resources, diverse economies, vibrant communities and close urban links, bring great value to the region. The visitor economy is one of our fastest growing sectors and one with the potential to significantly boost our economy for generations to come and create new jobs.

“Through its support for The Sill, the Local Growth Fund has brought new employment opportunities and helped to secure significant public and private investment in one of the most rural parts of the region. Attracting more than 150,000 visitors per year, The Sill has supported the growth of a number of local businesses and is well on its way to bringing a further £2.5m per year to this rural part of Northumberland.”

Projects that support local communities and improve skills have also received funding from the Local Growth Fund. The new 2,500-seater Newcastle Eagles Community Arena in Elswick provides a new community venue for sports participation, vocational training, and health & wellbeing.

Paul Blake, Managing Director of Newcastle Eagles said: “The Local Growth Fund was a pivotal building block in our development, which even in our early stages has seen significant job growth, jobs safeguarded for the long term and a number of new apprenticeships launched across several sectors.

“Our partnership with Newcastle College extends the educational reach in the building even further. A month into opening we are now building local networks in the West End to cement our sporting, health and wellbeing offer too.”

For information on all the projects supported by the Local Growth Fund, visit www.nelep.co.uk/funding

The Local Growth Fund film can be viewed on the North East LEP website, https://www.nelep.co.uk/funding/local-growth-funding.

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The bid to make 5G North East a reality: In conversation with Alan Welby

In the next few weeks, one city in the UK will be chosen to be the testbed for the next generation of 5G technologies, which have the potential to transform the way we live and work.

The North East LEP is part of the partnership, led by the North East Combined Authority (NECA), which has submitted the North East’s bid to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). 5G North East is our bid to place the North East at the heart of the UK’s 5G revolution.

If we’re successful, it could make a massive difference to the regional economy, with conservative figures pointing to a potential £500m productivity increase by 2025 and the possible creation of 1600 job equivalents by 2025.

These are modest estimates and it’s likely that the actual figures would be a lot greater as new channels to global marketplaces open up and 5G increases the status of the North East as a place to live and do business. In addition, there would be up to £200m direct investment in digital infrastructure capability between 2019 and 2021.

The range of applications for these new technologies is vast. Every area of business and society could benefit – the way our children learn in the classroom could be transformed by the use of Augmented Reality (AR); we could see the advent of smart factories with increased connectivity allowing smart supply chains and production lines; the management of traffic flow and electricity in our smart cities could be transformed; and there are many ways we could unlock opportunities for improvements around social care and ageing.

Why should the North East be chosen? I believe we have everything needed to make the region a successful test area for these new technologies. We have the partnerships in place, with public and private sector buy-in. We have a strong culture of innovation here, with significant assets – the Stellium data centre in North Tyneside and the National Innovation Centre for Data in Newcastle city centre, plus CPI’s National Centre for Printable Electronics at NetPark in Durham.

Our large scale ‘open innovation’ approach would see businesses, universities, public institutions and communities working together with communication service providers and mobile operators, trialling and developing 5G solutions to a range of challenges in the urban, industrial, business, social and environmental sectors.

Another USP is our project-ready team which is led by 5G expert Xavier Priem who has extensive experience working for multiple telecom suppliers, their customers and network operators and who has established specialist 5G research and innovation centres and projects across Europe.

From a practical point of view, the region is the right size and has the right mix of cities, rural areas and transport infrastructure with our ports, rail links and airports providing opportunities to test how 5G can be applied to importing, exporting and the tracking of goods.

We’re ready to go and we have a strong and compelling case for the North East to be at the forefront of the UK’s drive to become a global leader in 5G enabled communications.

We know there is great support in the region for this bid and we want to take advantage of this exciting opportunity for the North East.

Alan Welby, Innovation Director
North East LEP

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Deal agreed for new £120m fund for the North East

A £120m fund to support the growth of hundreds of North East businesses hopes to go live early next year after an important milestone was reached today.

The North East Fund – also known as “JEREMIE”  – will offer a range of equity investments and loans to firms to drive local growth and job creation in the North East LEP area.

The final piece of the funding jigsaw was agreed in principle this week by the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) top level Management Committee, after several months of intensive negotiations, following the triggering of Article 50 in March. The £60m loan represents a significant vote of confidence in the North East.

The EIB contribution will form part of a £145m funding package supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government (which has responsibility for the European Regional Development Fund in England) and legacy returns from earlier successful funds operating in the region. The seven North East Local Authorities, working through the NECA Leadership Board, have also been fully engaged in bringing the programme to fruition.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) led the project team negotiating for the Region. Although the Fund will invest exclusively in the North East LEP area, it will also sit alongside the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), operating in other LEP areas, to drive business growth right across the Northern Powerhouse.

The North East Fund will provide financial support for over 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs over the life of the fund and delivering a legacy fund of up to £80m for further investment in the region over the next decade.

Helen Golightly, executive director for the North East LEP, said: “Our project team has been working continuously with HM Treasury and the EIB behind the scenes to make this fund a reality. Both have been committed to the new Fund from day one and we are grateful to them for their support. This hugely positive decision, though still subject to contract, is a real coup for the north east and, critically, enables us to retain independence and local control  over how these funds are used.

Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of the North East Fund Limited, which will deliver the new programme, added: “This announcement follows months of painstaking work and we are delighted that the European Investment Bank will remain a major long-term investor in the North East. We will now focus on getting money to businesses as soon as we possibly can”


Notes to Editors

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP)covers County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Our role is to drive economic growth in North East England by supporting businesses and creating more and better jobs for everyone.

Over the next decade, we aim to help the North East create an extra 100,000 jobs. An ambitious target, but one we believe is achievable working with our partners in the public and private sectors.

Our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the North East outlines how we will create more and better jobs including the identification of our areas of strength, referred to as our smart specialisation areas; passenger vehicle manufacturing; subsea and offshore; life sciences and healthcare; and creative, digital, software and technology based services, and our plan to bring investment and funding to the area.

Work areas

The North East LEP works across a number of themes and areas. These are:

  • Funding: The North East LEP competes nationally to bring funding into the region. We are the holder of a multi-million pound pot of money, sourced from various funding streams, which is used to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan priorities.
  • Business Growth: Our Business Growth Programme provides the framework for investment into small and medium-sized companies, opening up access to the finance and support they need to grow and thrive. The LEP is also delivering the ground breaking northeastgrowthhub.co.uk. It simply and efficiently brings together all the available business support information into one digital platform to ensure businesses have all they need to create competitive advantage.
  • Skills: The LEP has created an Employment and Skills Board to give strategic leadership and direction on the skills needed to provide employers with the qualified employees they need. A significant part of our work is to create greater connections between businesses and schools.
  • Enterprise Zones: The North East LEP has helped secure a second Enterprise Zone (EZ) from Government for the region. It is spread across ten sites and companies located there will benefit from business rate discounts, tax savings or enhanced capital allowances.  This was a result of the huge success of the first Enterprise Zone and the significant improvements it brought to the region.
  • Innovation: We are working with organisations across the North East LEP area to secure our place as one of the leading ‘innovation hotspots’ in Europe. We aim to achieve this by building a world class ‘open innovation eco system’ together with partners around the region. Important initiatives include the Super Network (Venture Fest), the Innovation Observatory and the Incubator Support programme.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The project is receiving up to £58,500,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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North East Enterprise Zones leading the way to success

A PROJECT to drive business and investment in the North East has been hailed a success.

North East Enterprise Zones were created to support economic growth by developing sites with key attributes to help businesses start-up, grow and expand.

Since their initial launch in 2012, the sites have attracted businesses and investors keen to take advantage of the generous financial incentives on offer, as well as the strategic locations available for development.

Now five years on, the latest figures show the zones have already created 1318 jobs across the 46 businesses that located to them.

In total, the 12 Enterprise Zones brought over £36m of investment to the North East.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership secured the Enterprise Zones for the region and supported infrastructure work, including roads and utilities, for the sites.

Executive director, Helen Golightly, said: “We are delighted with the success of the North East Enterprise Zones.

“All of our Enterprise Zones are in key locations, so whether it’s adjacent to a major trunk road like the A19 or A1 or whether it’s next to a major cluster of activity, they’re all strategically positioned.

“They’re clustered around our areas of opportunity, for example automotive or offshore. They’re next to the areas that we really feel are going to thrive.

“The zones are all at different stages but we have high hopes for the future. We have these fantastic sites and we’re investing a lot in them to get them ready.”

One such success is Neptune Yard in Newcastle, once a centre of shipbuilding on the River Tyne but now home to a new generation of thriving industry.

Part of the North Bank of the Tyne Enterprise Zone, the historic site is now leading the way in offshore wind and renewables.

The revitalised site has created 485 jobs and attracted over £40m of investment.

Businesses located at Neptune Yard include global companies Shepherd Offshore; GE Oil & Gas; Bridon International; IHC FHP; and JDR Cables.

Newcastle University has also established Tyne Subsea, a hub for hyperbaric research, test and certification.

Demand for the site is so high plans are in place to extend to create more space with the North Bank of the Tyne Extension project.

The North Bank of the Tyne Enterprise Zone includes the Port of Tyne, the former Swan Hunter ship yard and the former Neptune Shipyard.

The cluster of sites in the North Bank of the Tyne Zone is a primary location for the offshore, subsea and energy sectors.

The Enterprise Zones also offer simplified planning procedures, access to some of the best development land in the North East, as well as business-specific benefits.

Through Business Rate Discount, businesses can gain up to 100% discount against business rates worth up to £275,000 over a five year period from occupying the premises on the Enterprise Zone site. This is equivalent to £55,000 per year but does not need to be taken as an even annual split.

Alternatively, through the Enhanced Capital Allowance, business can receive up to 100% capital allowance for investment in plant and equipment on the Enterprise Zone site. This can represent tax relief worth up to £125m.

But it is the strategic locations of the zones that businesses can most benefit from.

Helen said: “All of the business in our Enterprise Zones benefit from being ideally positioned in a strategic location within a cluster of companies working in key areas of opportunity.

“Businesses can be part of the supply chain and work with each other. This approach has really worked very well.

“If you look at Neptune, they’ve now got global companies that have located there. It’s all about working with the investors and building links.

“We think the North East Enterprise Zones have huge potential. With over 1300 full-time jobs and £36m of investment already in our Enterprise Zones, the figures really do speak for themselves.”