Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) restructured
Eight business leaders added to board
Having lobbied the government to delay any announcements on funding for the north east Local Enterprise Partnership, business leaders have succeeded in getting eight of their numbers appointed to the new board of the LEP. Along with two academics they join seven local authority representatives in an effort to create an imaginative proposition that could bring increased funding for north east enterprises and jobs.
Speaking on behalf of the seven local authorities that make up the partnership, Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, welcomed the appointment of the permanent board.
He said: “We now have a board with a good mix of skills and experience and I’m sure under Paul Woolston’s leadership we will be able to build on this over the next few months to support a thoughtful and strategic approach to the economic development for the North East.”
Mr Woolston said: “I’m North East through and through and for me the reason for getting involved with the partnership is clear, what is good for the regional economy is good for my business life and family life, just the same as it is for everyone here.
“So really I want to galvanise the region, to make sure this partnership makes this a better place to live and work. That means the entire North East, working with the Tees Valley local enterprise partnership to really do what we can together.”
He added: “I’m interested in the whole of the North East, rather than just looking out for individual areas, and I include Tees Valley when I say we are stronger when we act together as a region.”
The big question remains will this benefit South Tyneside (who favoured a scheme based on the A19 corridor), or will it favour the larger cities of Newcastle/Gateshead and Sunderland? Whilst any jobs boost and regeneration will be warmly welcomed, I fear that existing companies may benefit at the expense of new start ups, and I can only hope that the science and green initiatives currently being marketed can have some real impact.
Do readers think that these areas mark out the future for the north east?