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Looking to the future of the North East economy

We all know about the North East’s magnificent heritage, and the engineering feats that once made the region a global industrial power.

But our plan for the region’s future doesn’t rely on the past. Instead, it talks about the strengths we have today, and the innovations which will enable our economy to thrive now and in the future.

Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today: that’s the thinking behind the North East Strategic Economic Plan – the blueprint for creating 100,000 more and better jobs in our region by 2024.

The Plan draws on the strength of our digital and energy sectors, and the work that’s making the North East stand out in health and life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. These are the areas which will drive the North East economy forwards.

Read the North East Strategic Economic Plan.

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North East LEP publishes second, annual Our Economy report

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) publishes its second annual Our Economy report today (Friday 10 May) at an event at Crowne Plaza Newcastle.

Providing an update on the current performance of the North East economy and how it is changing over time, Our Economy 2019 also looks at what makes the North East a competitive place for businesses and residents.

Victoria Sutherland, Senior Economist at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our Economy 2019 uses a range of indicators to give us a clearer picture of how our region is performing.

“We’ve been able to look at important factors like how many businesses there are in the North East and whether they are growing, innovating and exporting. We’ve also looked at how many jobs there are in the North East, how many of our residents are in work and the levels of investment into the region.

“By understanding what the statistics tell us about our economy, we can focus our efforts on the most important issues and identify the activities that will help achieve the ambition set out in the Strategic Economic Plan to create 100,000 more and better jobs.”

Each year, the Our Economy report takes a more detailed look at a particular topic. This year it focuses on what makes the North East a competitive place. Being competitive is about providing the right environment for the region’s existing and potential businesses to invest and grow and somewhere individuals can realise their ambitions, building and nurturing confidence.

The evidence in Our Economy shows that innovation, business structure and technological readiness, and efforts to build the skills and capabilities of residents are all key factors underpinning the North East’s competitiveness. It also highlights the assets in the region that contribute to a high quality of life.

The event in Newcastle features keynote speakers including Richie Ramsden, Head of Data Science – Innovation Incubator at AkzoNobel, who considers the North East to be the best place in the UK to undertake data science. Professor Jane Robinson, Dean of Engagement and Place at Newcastle University will speak on how the North East’s universities contribute to the region’s success.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP said: “Given the political and economic uncertainty we’ve experienced in the last few months, it’s more important than ever we continue to review the performance of the North East economy.

“The data in Our Economy 2019 shows we can have confidence in our approach, but it also identifies the areas, as a region, we need to address, for example, low levels of innovation. This kind of detailed analysis is vital as we continue to develop the North East Local Industrial Strategy in partnership with government.

“Our Economy continues to be an important resource for the region and I’d like to thank everyone that contributed to this year’s report.”

To read the North East LEP’s Our Economy report in full, click here. It provides detail on progress against the North East Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) targets, including the region’s ambition to create 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024. To read the Strategic Economic Plan, click here.

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North East LEP ONS Labour Market Statistics reaction

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist, Victoria Sutherland, gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“4,000 more people in the North East are in employment than three months ago. This is a positive result for the region and recent increases in employment have largely offset the declines we saw in early 2018.

“Looking at the data in more detail, there has been particularly strong growth in employment amongst younger age groups.

“Disappointingly, today’s labour market statistics also show unemployment has increased by 6,000 over the quarter, and by 2,000 over the year. A number of other regions have seen a similar increase.

“With both employment and unemployment increasing over the quarter, there are fewer people economically inactive; a broad group that includes those who are outside the labour market because they are in education, have health issues or disabilities that prevent them from work, have caring responsibilities, or have retired. However, there has been growth in the numbers aged 50 and over that are inactive.

“As previously noted, there has been a high degree of fluctuation in the North East’s labour market performance over the last 12 months. Considerable uncertainty in the national economy is one of the factors contributing to this fluctuation, with data showing that across the UK, there have been three consecutive quarter-on-quarter declines in business investment. It is important for the North East that we move to a period of greater certainty so that businesses are able to plan and grow.

“The North East LEP has addressed these issues through its updated Strategic Economic Plan, which was published last week (Thursday 14 February). It recognises the economic and political changes that have influenced our regional economy and how we can respond to them in a positive way to deliver more and better jobs for the North East.”

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North East LEP publishes updated Strategic Economic Plan

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has today (Thursday 14 February) published its updated Strategic Economic Plan, which outlines how it will help create 100,000 more and better jobs for the region by 2024.

The newly updated plan reflects on recent changes to the global and national economy as well as the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union. It also looks at how the North East can maximise opportunities around the UK’s Industrial Strategy, particularly in areas such as green energy and an ageing population.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “2014 saw the publication of the North East LEP’s original Strategic Economic Plan, which set out in clear terms our approach to growing the regional economy and creating 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

“Fast forward to 2019 and our ambition remains the same, but what has changed is the political and economic landscape we find ourselves in. We’re on the brink of leaving the European Union and a new Mayoral North of Tyne Combined Authority has been formed.

“It’s for those reasons and more we’ve chosen to launch a refreshed Strategic Economic Plan, one that reflects the significant changes we’re experiencing as a country, and a region.”

The North East Strategic Economic Plan identifies four areas of strategic importance that will improve the region’s economic competitiveness. They are the digital, advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences and energy sectors.

Five programmes of activity, delivered by the North East LEP and its partners, support these areas of industry to grow, helping boost the economy and create more jobs for the people that live and work in the region.

They include helping North East businesses to grow and scale, and to compete on a global level; embracing Industry 4.0 and integrating technology and innovation into everything we do; improving skills and careers education across the North East; forging better and more sustainable transport links across the region and Northern Powerhouse; and investing in major capital infrastructure projects.

Andrew continued: “Whilst the current economic and political climate may pose challenges for our region, it also provides a number of opportunities. The refreshed Strategic Economic Plan we’re launching today outlines how, as a region, we can maximise those opportunities to strengthen and grow our economy.

“A good example is the UK’s commitment to tackling climate change and promoting clean growth. Here in the North East we are the leading location in England for the wind energy sector and our world-leading businesses and strong local supply chain puts us at the very heart of the clean energy revolution.

“We’re also global players in the health and life sciences sector, with our infrastructure, expertise and research into ageing one of our major strengths. This year alone we’ve seen the arrival of The Biosphere and National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle Helix, and NETPark in County Durham continues to thrive, helping new and emerging health and life sciences business go to market.”

Since the launch of the Strategic Economic Plan in 2014, 64,600 new jobs have been created with 77% of those classed as better jobs, in managerial, professional and technical roles. The region has also seen improvements in its employment rate, economic activity rate and productivity.

Read a copy of the updated Strategic Economic Plan.

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Opportunity to tender – Interim evaluation of Strategic Economic Plan

The North East LEP is committed to being a learning organisation, ensuring that up-to-date economic analysis, evaluation and evidence development is at the heart of its work.

Monitoring and evaluation activities form a key component of this ambition as it provides an opportunity to demonstrate impact and effectiveness of inventions and a solid evidence base for future decision making by the LEP, its partners and others engaged in local economic development.

As part of an ongoing programme of research and evaluation activities, the North East LEP wishes to commission the interim evaluation of the North East Strategic Economic Plan (SEP). The SEP sets out the ambition for the North East economy.

To support the delivery of the SEP objectives and targets, the interim evaluation will assess the effectiveness and impact of the delivery of the SEP from its publication in 2014 and the North East LEP itself in the number of roles it plays in supporting the economy. The appointed contactor will also work with the North East LEP on fund or project evaluations so that individual project activities align with and feed into the interim SEP evaluation.

The appointed contractor will bring together existing monitoring and evaluation findings to present an overall picture of the impact of the SEP on the North East economy, alongside undertaking mini project evaluations and primary research activities to capture strategic added value. In light of this, we anticipate that the successful contractor will have a clear understanding of the North East economy and regional economic development alongside experience and expertise in evaluation methodologies and innovative approaches to conducting research.

The interim evaluation will start in June 2018 and continue until March 2021, and will help to inform the final evaluation of the SEP (to be undertaken between 2021 and 2024) and other SEP research and evaluation.

The contract value is a maximum of £30,000 (including expenses, excluding VAT) will be available each year over three years.

If you are interested in this opportunity or would like more information, please register your interest and download the tender specification from NEPO

Please note that the closing date for expressions of interest is 12noon on 14 May 2018.