Minister visit opens regional talks

The first in a series of regional meetings which will help to drive forward the ambitions of the North East Combined Authority and North East Local Enterprise Partnership took place on Monday 16 June.

Rt. Hon.  Greg Clark MP, Minister for Cities and Constitution, held initial talks with the Leaders and Elected Mayor of the local authorities comprising the North East Combined Authority and Paul Woolston, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Today’s discussions pave the way for a series of important meetings between the minister and the regional economic leaders, which will also include the area’s MPs. It’s an approach which aims to ensure that the region speaks with one powerful voice on what it needs to attract more business and create more jobs.

These initial talks took place at Eversheds in Newcastle upon Tyne and were attended by Cllr Simon Henig (Durham), Chair of the Combined Authority, Cllr Mick Henry (Gateshead), Cllr Nick Forbes (Newcastle), Mayor Norma Redfearn (North Tyneside), Cllr Grant Davey (Northumberland), Cllr Paul Watson (Sunderland), Paul Woolston, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the minister.

Chair of the North East Combined Authority, Cllr Simon Henig, said: “I hope this sends a strong message that we are ready and able to work together to deliver what this region needs to transform its economic fortunes.

“These meetings will ensure there is good shared knowledge and understanding both regionally and nationally and that we tackle improving the economy, transport and skills together in a unified way.”

Greg Clark, Minister for Cities, said: “I was pleased to be able to attend the constructive meeting with the seven local authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnership. By working so closely together, the North East can make the most of the powers the Government is devolving to them to create a new era of prosperity for everyone in the region.”

Paul Woolston, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Through the strategic economic plan we have already shown the strength of partnership working, developing a cohesive and inclusive plan to create more and better jobs for the North East. Today’s meeting represents the next step in this journey. By working together we will strengthen the North East offer, attracting greater levels of investment and building our national and international reputation to enable us to grow a prosperous economy.”

Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, South Tyneside Council, Northumberland County Council and Sunderland City Council, put together a powerful case for the region to have devolved powers to stimulate economic growth, job creation, skills development and improved transport links.

The ambition of the North East Combined Authority is to create the best possible conditions for growth in jobs, investment and living standards, making the North East an excellent location for business and enabling residents to develop high-level skills so they can benefit long into the future.