North East Economy and Devolution
The North East economy was traditionally regarded as an area of outstanding innovation and creativity. Latterly the North East economy is characterised by high unemployment, low skills, higher than average levels of inactivity and lower than average levels of productivity.
The VCSE in the North East has an important part to play in the economic regeneration of the region, as employers, as businesses and as purchasers. Beyond that the sector plays a role in volunteering, employability and income maximisation often with individuals who are considered hard to reach.
Devolution is the process of transferring of central government powers to a local level and offers the opportunity to “create a balanced, more healthy economy for working people across our United Kingdom”.
The Northern Powerhouse is the name given to a government drive to redress the North-South economic imbalance, and to attract investment into northern cities and towns.
The vehicle for devolution in the regions is largely through combined authorities, which are local authorities coming together as a single combined authority. They are seen as the path to greater spending powers, greater control over local decision making, and perhaps ultimately a move towards local authorities becoming self-sufficient, using funds raised locally through taxation and other fiscal measures to provide services to a wider regional area.
Local Enterprise Partnerships
In the North East, we now have two Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), that between them cover the whole of the North East region. The LEPs are charged with stimulating economic growth in the region. Each LEP is responsible for developing and implement Strategic Economic Plans and European Structural Fund Plans.
The Tees Valley LEP
Tees Valley Unlimited is the Tees Valley LEP covering 800 sq. km and a population of 650,000. The Tees Valley LEP includes five Local Authorities - Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton on Tees. Tees Valley contributes over £10 billion to the UK economy. However, worklessness remains a major challenge with over 77,000 residents in receipt of one or more key working age benefits.
The North East LEP
The North East LEP, covers the 7 local authority areas of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland, which amongst them, has a population of around 2 million people, nearly 800,000 FTE jobs and 44,000 active businesses.
VCSE Employment, Inclusion and Skills Focus Group - NELEP/NECA
VCSE organisations with an interest in employment, inclusion and skills which operate in the NECA/ North East LEP area meet around four times a year to share information and meet with relevant stakeholders including the LEP, Combined Authority, DWP, Job Centre Plus, Skills Funding Agency and others. You can read a recent news article about the relaunch of the group here and the Terms of Reference for the group here.
If you are interested in receiving information about this group or attending, please email Abi Lunn.
- North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) James.Ramsbotham@necc.co.uk
- Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Simon.Hanson@fsb.org.uk
- Confederation of British Industry (CBI) North East Liz.email@example.com
- Independent Public Policy research (IPPR North) E.Cox@ippr.org
- Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) NeilMcInroy@cles.org.uk
- Department for Business Innovation and Skills (Bis Local) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Trade Union Congress North (TUC) BFarhat@tuc.org.uk NFoster@tuc.org.uk
- Office for National Statistics
- Tees Valley Unlimited
- North East LEP
- North East Combined Authority
- Association of North East Councils