Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'We Must Work Together' on Devolution Deal Detail; DEVOLUTION

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'We Must Work Together' on Devolution Deal Detail; DEVOLUTION

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAEME WHITFIELD graeme.whitfield@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE North East's devolution deal has to focus on skills and draw expertise from the business community, council leaders have been warned.

The warning from North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham came at the unveiling of The Journal's Top 200, the annual list of the region's largest companies.

For the fifth year running, Nissan was named the region's largest company, while other prizes were awarded to some of the region's up-andcoming firms who have made it onto the Top 200 list for the first time.

To coincide with The Journal's Let's Work Together campaign - which is highlighting businesses doing the most to address the region's skills gap - the event included a panel discussion on the skills shortage in the North East.

Asked about devolution on that panel, Mr Ramsbotham said: "We have to call the local authorities to account to discuss things with us in more detail. The amount of consultation with us to date hasn't been suf-ficient to give us confidence that the deal will do what we need it to.

"We need to focus on curriculums at all levels to make sure people and businesses in the North East can thrive. We really need to work together to absolutely deliver that.

"The knowledge is throughout the region, not just in local authorities, so we need to get our input into developing the detail on skills in months and years ahead."

The leaders of the seven councils in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham last week signed an agreement which they have put to Government on areas which can be devolved to the North East.

The agreement called for "a radical new approach to enhancing employment and skills, with devolved responsibility for adult skills, codesign of employment support for harder-to-help claimants, and partnership arrangements to create opportunities for young people. …

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