Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Wonder We Lose out, We're Outnumbered; One Voice from North East on Key Bodies, 54 from South East

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Wonder We Lose out, We're Outnumbered; One Voice from North East on Key Bodies, 54 from South East

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

THE North East is being bypassed by billions of pounds of jobs and investment cash because of under representation on Government funding bodies, it was last night claimed.

Information provided to The Journal shows that of the 104 members of seven powerful Government research councils controlling money for medical and engineering research, only one person comes from the North East.

By contrast, 54 are from London and the South East, adding to fears that the "golden triangle" of universities and employers between London, Oxford and Cambridge are cementing their dominance of public research.

Critics warn that the Government's efforts to rebalance the UK economy away from the South East will continue to be undermined until ministers review the way key decisions are made.

The revelations come as London continues work on the pounds 600m Crick Institute, which it is thought could undermine some of Tyneside's world leading medical research work.

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah said it was vital that the North East was handed a say on bodies such as the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

She said: "The Government destroyed development agency One North East, the voice of the region, without putting in place any measures to promote regional representation on important bodies like this. Universities, dependent on their funding, are obviously going to be wary of criticising them and the department is apparently washing its hands.

"They say appointments are made on merit - are they therefore saying there is so little merit in the North East? If so it's clearly a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Government promised regional growth and innovation, but is doing nothing to fulfil that promise."

Ed Cox, chair of the region's dedicated think tank IPPR North, said Tyneside was losing out as a result of being stuck between Scotland with its greater business investment powers and London with its hugely disproportionate Government investment.

His think tank is set to launch a study to see how regions bordering another country, such as North East England or Northern Ireland cope in close proximity to areas with powers to lower taxes, as is the situation in Scotland. …

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