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North East Coalition files world-class Freeport bid

North East England Freeport to create 60,000 jobs, over £3.4bn GVA and £2.7bn private sector investment.

A dynamic business and public sector partnership based in the UK’s leading export region has lodged an exciting and innovative bid for the North East England Freeport, which economic experts have predicted would generate a £2.1 billion boost to UK exports, plus many other significant benefits.

Government support for the proposal would see the North East England Freeport provide a uniquely ambitious and collaborative opportunity for the whole region to thrive, boosting the local economy by over £2.4 billion over 10 years and providing a gateway to long term global competitiveness. Through the North East England Freeport, over 30,000 new jobs are expected to be created for the region, of which 13,000 are highly paid ‘better jobs. A further 31,000 jobs will be generated in the construction industries.

The regional consortium formed to operate the North East England Freeport as a virtual free trade zone includes Nissan, the Ports of Tyne, Blyth and Sunderland, Newcastle Airport, seven local and two combined authorities, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), plus leading north east universities and innovative organisations. The sites involved will be inter-connected and secured using a state of the art, cybersecure perimeter.

Economic analysis completed by consortium members and validated by an independent economic adviser demonstrates that the North East England Freeport would deliver outstanding economic benefits to the region. These include:

  • 61,458 new jobs across the construction, manufacturing, logistics, energy, innovation and business sectors
  • £3.4 billion GVA across the local region
  • Expected GVA of £110,000 per freeport worker, with median earnings of freeport workers 40-62% higher than current regional levels across all sectors
  • Total GVA uplift of £3,000 per capita within the North East LEP area
  • £2.7 billion in new regional private sector investment
  • £2.1 billion additional UK exports over 10 years

By generating tens of thousands more and better jobs, the North East England Freeport will become a national hub for global trade and investment, a hotbed for innovation, a catalyst for sustainable economic regeneration, while minimising barriers to trade. Each site and partner in the freeport bid consortium will contribute to realising a best-in-class offering that will drive investment and deliver a high impact, economic boost that fully exploits the North East’s unique abilities in advanced manufacturing, life sciences, digital, clean energy and business services.

Crucially, the North East England Freeport will provide a bold blueprint for growth, compromising of a multi-site, digitally connected and enabled cybersecure boundary area, with robust customs zones. This will enable the North East region’s clusters to manufacture goods cost efficiently and trade internationally, benefiting from tax advantaged policy to stimulate economic development. It will contribute to levelling up in one of the areas of the country where it is needed the most.

The North East England Freeport will include three significant tax sites totalling approximately 600 hectares on which businesses will be able to receive a range of special incentives to invest and grow. They are located in some of the most deprived communities in the region and will create new jobs and supporting skills and employability programmes to ensure jobs are accessible to local people. The activity from these businesses will generate benefits across the region.

The Freeport will be led by a collaborative Governance Board which will bring together leaders from business, local government, higher education and the ports to drive forward the North East England Freeport at pace. This demonstrates the regions determination to deliver long term transformation and commitment to level up the UK economy.

Matt Beeton, CEO at the Port of Tyne and Interim Chair of the North East England Freeport, said: “Our model offers an unrivalled, ‘best of all worlds’ approach, uniting the private and public sectors to provide the region with an exceptional opportunity to benefit from the levelling up potential of digitally enabled economic zones. Developing over 60,000 new jobs in the region and £3.4bn regional GVA is incredibly important and demonstrates that ports are a catalyst for future economic growth.”

Martin Lawlor, CEO at the Port of Blyth said: “This bid consortium offers unrivalled clean growth and manufacturing expertise, and we have the vision, ambition and experience to make this a flagship freeport the UK can truly be proud of. We are excited by both the innovation within our bid and the transformative impact our freeport will have on the region if we are successful.”

Nick Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Newcastle International Airport, said: “Fast and frequent connections to growth markets are key to the success of the freeport and the advancement of the North East’s key business sectors. Air connectivity will strengthen the North East England Freeport proposition and will help to drive productivity improvements through logistics supply chains, with the ultimate aim of supporting the growth sectors in the region – from pharmaceuticals and life sciences to technology and advanced manufacturing. The Airport is delighted to play a role in the across-region partnership that will deliver this project.”

Lucy Winskell, Chair of the North East LEP said: “The North East is a perfect candidate for a freeport given its trading pedigree, its capabilities in green industries and the challenges it faces.  Our model is deeply collaborative and highly innovative. Our seaports, airport, businesses, universities and political leaders are working together to deliver a cutting edge, digitally enabled freeport which brings new growth across our region and regenerates many of the communities that need it most.”

Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of North of Tyne said: “The North East has always been a strong manufacturing and exporting region.  We want to secure the future for our workers, our kids and our grandkids.  This means developing our low carbon industries and building a green future.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, Chair of North East Combined Authority said: “This is a highly collaborative and compelling bid with the ability to transform the whole of the North East. Crucially, it provides significant opportunities for Nissan and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).”

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North East region responds to National Infrastructure Assessment

Representatives from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, all seven local authorities and the region’s business community came together today (13 November) to discuss the future of infrastructure in the UK as part of a visit by the National Infrastructure Commission.

The organisation, which provides expert, impartial advice to government on infrastructure – is currently touring the country to discuss its recently published National Infrastructure Assessment.  The first of its kind for the UK, it analyses the UK’s long-term economic infrastructure needs, outlines a strategic vision over the next 30 years and sets out recommendations on how the identified needs should be met.

Published once a parliament, today’s event was an opportunity for the North East to provide feedback on the assessment and discuss how the recommendations will support economic prosperity in the region.

Organised by the North East LEP, attendees met with Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, and Bridget Rosewell OBE, Commissioner at the National Infrastructure Commission.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP said: “It’s important for us as a region to plan for the long-term recommendations in the National Infrastructure Assessment and respond to the opportunities and challenges it raises. Having the chance to discuss its impact on the North East and how it fits with our Strategic Economic Plan has been a fantastic opportunity.

“We’re keen to identify areas where the North East can take forward work to shape areas like digital connectivity, management of flooding and new transport investments, and how we can ensure the region benefits from future infrastructure funding.

“We were able to bring together key representatives from the public and private sector to learn more about the Assessment and provide feedback to Sir John and his colleagues about the region’s response to it.

“It’s great to see the National Infrastructure Commission consulting the North East on issues that will have a significant impact our region and we look forward to working with them to establish a future co-operative approach.”

The National Infrastructure Assessment puts forward a series of recommendations on six key areas; building a digital society, low cost and low carbon energy, revolutionising road transport, transport and housing for thriving city regions, reducing the risks of drought and flooding, and choosing and designing infrastructure. Government has 12 months to formally respond to the Assessment.

Sir John Armitt CBE, Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “From the redevelopment of the Gateshead Quays to South Shields’ new transport interchange, it’s clear that councils and businesses across the North East are keeping a strong focus on improving local infrastructure for the benefit of residents.

“Our National Infrastructure Assessment – a first for the UK – has strong recommendations which, if adopted, could make a real difference for the region. In particular, our call for a truly national charging network for electric vehicles would support take-up across the country, as well as here at the home of the Nissan Leaf.

“This, and our proposals for devolving more transport funding to cities rolling out full-fibre broadband and providing more energy from low-carbon sources, would benefit the region and the country as a whole, and I hope local leaders will make the case to ministers to make them a reality.”

Held at the offices of Ward Hadaway in Newcastle, the roundtable discussion explored the opportunities and challenges of the Assessment for the region and how the North East can help take them forward.

Organisations representing the region included; the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Nexus, Environment Agency, Newcastle International Airport, North East Combined Authority (NECA), the region’s local authorities and the newly formed North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Colin Hewitt, Partner and Head of the Commercial team at Ward Hadaway, said: “We are delighted to host this roundtable discussion. It will give us a chance to talk about the types of infrastructure the UK should be investing in and also establish a new way to think about infrastructure closer to home, with a focus on how it affects our quality of life and the success of the North East economy.”

For more information about the National Infrastructure Commission and to read the National Infrastructure Assessment, visit www.nic.org.uk.

If you have any further questions about this article, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

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Thinking global to grow the North East economy

By Victoria Sutherland, Senior Economist at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership
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As an economist working at the North East LEP, one of the questions I’m asked the most is ‘how is the North East economy performing?’

On Tuesday 6 March I had the opportunity to answer that question at the launch of the ‘Our Economy 2018’ report.

More than 200 people joined me, Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP, and our panel of speakers to learn more about the current state of the North East economy and to consider how we build our global linkages.

It was a pleasure to see colleagues from across the business community, as well as government departments, local authorities and education at the launch.

We were able to share positive news about the North East economy and update on the good progress that has been made against the Strategic Economic Plan targets. A key highlight is that the number of jobs in the North East has increased by 55,200 since 2014, putting us on track to meet our target of 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

We are also particularly pleased that the employment rate and economic activity rate have increased – meaning residents are benefiting from the additional job opportunities – and that the gap with England excluding London on these measures has reduced.

The event focused on the North East’s role in the global economy and the importance of international connections. We had the pleasure of hearing from guest speaker Jason Knights, managing director of brand creative agency Blue Kangaroo, about his organisation’s international links and how thinking global has seen his company flourish.

Blue Kangaroo now work with some of the biggest brands in the world, including The Walt Disney Company and Mattel, all from its base in Gateshead.

Our panel discussion saw contributions from Marian Sudbury, Director, Global Operations for the Northern Powerhouse at the Department for International Trade and Professor Nick Wright, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Business at Newcastle University.

We learnt more about the support and advice on offer to North East businesses looking to export and how our region’s universities have built their global connections and welcomed over 17,000 international students to the North East last year.

The North East’s excellent air and sea connectivity was highlighted as being critical for supporting our global connections. In 2016, the North East’s ports handled 5.7m tonnes of freight and Newcastle Airport handled 4.8 million passengers, 76% travelling between Newcastle and international destinations.

A questions and answer session followed with some fantastic debate around the findings in the report and a call to action by Andrew Hodgson for North East businesses to be proud of their achievements and to champion the region on the international stage.

To coincide with the publication of the ‘Our Economy’ report, the North East LEP, in partnership with the North East Combined Authority, has launched the North East Data Hub. This is a digital platform that gathers data from across the region on the economy and transport and allows users to download and compare data in a simple, user-friendly way.

To find out more information about the North East Data Hub, visit www.northeastdatahub.co.uk and for more information about ‘Our Economy 2018’ and to read the report in full, visit www.nelep.co.uk/oureconomy.

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FinanceCamp North East pitches as the future of investment for regional businesses

FinanceCamp North East is being pitched as the smart new way for regional businesses to secure the right kind of investment to fit their plans for growth.

Details have now been released for this new programme of support which will culminate in a major event on 21 June 2016 at Ramside Hall, Durham, where businesses with bright ideas will meet lenders who want to lend and investors who want to invest.

Enterprises of all sizes, structures and sectors are now being urged to apply for the programme to explore different ways to finance their ambitions – whether that’s through a start-up loan, a multi-million pound equity deal or anything in between.

FinanceCamp has been shaped by input and ideas from a wide cross section of businesses, government bodies, research and educational institutions, business representation groups and support organisations who have an interest in accelerating innovation in the region.

It’s been developed by the team behind the region’s annual innovation conference Venturefest North East, with backing from the North East LEP, North East Finance, the North East BIC and Innovate UK.

Simon Green, Executive Director at Venturefest North East, said: “Venturefest’s investor introductions have helped secure hundreds of thousands of pounds in finance for businesses across the North East over the past few years and FinanceCamp builds on this success story.

“Businesses told us that they needed more opportunities to explore their finance options throughout the year and we have responded with this exciting new programme designed to save time and simplify the investment process.”

Hans Möller, Innovation Director at the North East LEP, said: “We know SMEs have struggled to secure finance in recent years and as such wholeheartedly support initiatives like FinanceCamp North East and our own North East Investment Fund, which provide businesses with the capital they need to grow and create new jobs.

“The Venturefest North East team has done a fantastic job getting this new scheme off the ground.”

Support provided to businesses taking part in FinanceCamp will be tailored to their needs, stage of growth and structure.

Expert advisers will work with each participant to explain all of the finance routes open to them, weigh up what fits their plans best and prepare their proposition to make it as attractive as possible to investors. Once they are fully prepared, businesses will then be introduced to a range of potential funders.

This initiative is part of a wider programme being developed with around 50 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. Led by the Venturefest North East team, the programme is supported by Innovate UK and the North East LEP and North East BIC, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

For more information and to apply for FinanceCamp North East visit financecamp.co.uk