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Paul Woolston responds to today’s Autumn Statement

Today, the North East LEP’s clear vision and ambitious plans for growth contained in its strategic economic plan have again been recognised through Government’s commitment to invest in these plans, to deliver more and better jobs for everyone.

We welcome the Chancellor’s announcements to improve connectivity across the North East, in particular  improvements to the A1 and A19.  Better transport links are critical to growing the economy in the North East, those improved links will also help support and attract investment into the area. We are also delighted with the investment in innovation centre on ageing in Newcastle and the National Formulation Centre. The North East is quickly becoming a leading part of the UK’s innovation story. We have already secured presence of four of the seven national Catapult centres and today’s announcement to locate the National Formulation Centre here is excellent news  building on our investment  through the North East Growth Deal for the Regional Formulation Centre.

We continue to champion the North East at a national level and promote the strengths and success of our partners and their capacity to deliver. The Chancellor’s recognition of this means we will be able to drive momentum in building a stronger regional economy.  However there is still a lot to do  –  in particular around improving the North East skills base and ensuring that we have the right people with the right skills to  build a stronger economy. Support to businesses to take on more young people and apprenticeships is essential and the commitment to make it cheaper to employ young people and easier to take on apprentices is a step in the right direction.

Its important that we continue to lobby for the North East , the announcements to cut public sector funding further will impact on the economy and so its critical that we maintain and build  on momentum to make sure that these plans and investments come to fruition and we continue to bring further investment into the area.