Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Ensure Areas South of THETYNE Can Thrive, Say Leaders

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Ensure Areas South of THETYNE Can Thrive, Say Leaders

Article excerpt

Byline: KALI LINDSAY Reporter kali.lindsay@reachplc.com

THE four remaining authorities in the North East Combined Authority (NECA) have vowed they are "ready to step up to the plate" and continue to deliver the "economic lifeblood to power" the region.

Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham Councils' leaders came together for the first time since the former NECA disbanded.

Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland have formed their own mayoral North of the Tyne Combined Authority.

At Tuesday's meeting in Gateshead Civic Centre, Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, was appointed chair of the new combined authority and Coun Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, was named as vice-chair.

It was agreed the leaders will meet again to finalise the primary collaborative projects the new body will take on. The leaders heard the economy of the new NECA area accounted for 55% of the North East economy and was valued at PS20.7bn in 2016, growing by more than 14% since 2011.

Coun Malcolm said: "This economy is worth over PS20bn - that's staggering.

"And that productive capacity shows, very clearly, that ours is an area that rolls up its sleeves and delivers.

"It is a place that makes things that the world wants to buy, ultimately, that makes us a highly investable proposition and a place that should therefore be supported to realise yet more of our vast potential.

"We are place that is open for business."

The meeting heard the new NECA area was responsible for around PS7.4bn worth of exports thanks to first-class manufacturing bases, including to Nissan, Hitachi and Siemens.

Coun Malcolm added: "All of these great companies are here because they recognise our strengths - the capability of our people, the exceptional conditions we create for businesses to thrive, the connectivity that keeps the NECA area moving and the outstanding lifestyle people who live and work here are afforded.

"However, we are ever-more ambitious for the area. …

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