Creating the Conditions for Economic Growth to Flourish in the North East; NORTH EAST LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP

Article excerpt

North East Investment Fund NELEP recently added another PS30m to its investment fund thanks to a successful application to the third round of the Regional Growth Fund.

Now worth over PS55m, with the initial PS25m made available from the Growing Places Fund, the North East Investment Fund is available to projects of all kinds that create jobs and growth in the North East LEP area, in particular large scale housing, commercial and industrial property, and infrastructure investment.

Of the PS20m of loans made in the last year, Newcastle's Stephenson Quarter was one of the first projects to be allocated money, but there are also projects in Sunderland, South Shields, Chester-le-Street and on the banks of the Tyne in North Tyneside that are going ahead thanks to NELEP finance.

Paul Woolston, chair of NELEP, said: "The flexibility of the North East Investment Fund means it can fund a wide range of projects where the private sector is not stepping in at all, or provide the vital element in a package of support. Public and private sectors will benefit from the wide-ranging remit of this fund. It will help to drive the economy not only of this area, but of the UK. We now have a fund in the North East that will keep more of the proceeds from our growth in the region. I'm delighted that through strong joint working the North East LEP will be supporting even more investment to boost jobs and growth."

Guidance, examples and all the application paperwork can be found at http://www.nelep.co.uk/ne-investment-fund/ and by contacting matthew.ebbatson@nelep.co.ukorhelen.golightly@nelep.co.uk.

Independent Economic Review Work continues on taking forward the recommendations within the Lord Andrew Adonis-led Independent Economic Review. The Review should be seen as a blueprint for economic development activity in the North East. As Lord Adonis states: "The task now is to agree on a plan and implement it. There is no time to lose. The North East has great strengths - in its people, its enterprises, its public institutions, and its natural, cultural, and so many other assets. There is huge capacity for success in the future, with will and leadership."

The report will inform the new European Investment Strategy (see below) and the Local Growth Plan that all 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships in England must prepare. This is a competitive process, and the Adonis Review sets us apart from many other areas - this is a perspective shared by Ministers. Greg Clark, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: "I strongly welcome the North East Local Enterprise Partnership's Independent Economic Review. The North East is on the rise: last year it had the biggest gain in private sector employment of any region in the United Kingdom and was one of the country's magnets for foreign investment."

A Combined Authority for the NELEP area One of the major areas of progress over the last few months is the North East local authorities' ambitious decision to form a Combined Authority. This does not mean local authorities will merge. Rather, they will set up a formal, statutory strategic grouping (using existing resources) to focus on a number of key issues. …