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Chair of North East Leadership Board appointed

The Board responsible for a new collaborative approach to boosting economic growth in the North East, has today appointed the Chair to oversee its transition from a shadow to a statutory body.

Councillor Simon Henig will take over the role of Chair of the North East Leadership Board, following the decision made by the group of leaders and elected mayor representing the seven local authorities – County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland councils. The Board will work alongside the North East Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver an area wide approach on key strategic issues.

The appointment is made with immediate effect and Councillor Henig will formally take on the role when the statutory body is established in April 2014. The appointment will then run for two years, with the option of a two year extension.

It follows the launch, earlier this month, of the government’s formal consultation that seeks views on the proposal to create a combined authority for the North East from April 2014. Its focus will be to gain additional decision making powers and funding from government focusing on skills, transport and economic growth.

Simon Henig, Chair of the North East Leadership Board said: “As the Government has now launched the formal consultation, the board has taken the decision at the earliest point to go into shadow arrangements. This is the next stage in the journey of collaborative working. This role will oversee the transition from shadow to a statutory body which will play a part in helping to secure future prosperity for the North East.

“It is extremely important that as a region we work together for the benefit of our economy, our businesses and our residents. This is a very important opportunity and I do not underestimate the work to be done. However, by taking this approach we will be able to present a stronger argument for the investment needed to create the new transport links and jobs which we need.

“As demonstrated effectively elsewhere, it is entirely appropriate that decisions about what is right for a region are made by the people who know it best and I am therefore pleased to accept the role as Chair.”

Paul Woolston, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership said:
“I welcome the decision to name the Chair of the North East Leadership Board, and look forward to working closely with Councillor Simon Henig. This is an important step forward in the formation of the combined authority. The new body promises to add huge value through co-ordinated decision making, promotion and delivery of public services on key issues for the North East.

“The existing strong relationships that are at the core of the North East LEP’s role linking business, education and our local authorities will be further advanced by the combined authority. Simon was the first Deputy Chair of the LEP and instrumental in its early and ongoing successes. I look forward to building on this joint working in the future.”

The Government consultation was launched on 7 November and closes on Thursday 2 January 2014, it can be found on www.gov.uk/government/consultations.