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industry news

19 May 2016


The North East devolution deal, which would be worth around £3.4bn for the region, has been welcomed by the business leaders.

The deal, which was agreed on Wednesday, means that from next May the region will be governed by an elected mayor and granted greater freedom over the way it collects business rates, as well as £30m funding a year being sent to the North East.

The North East will also get new powers covering employment and skills, transport and planning and business activity – all of which are intended to drive economic growth.

Yesterday, we spoke to a number of business leaders to seek their views about the plan and its impact on the sector.

Stan Higgins, NEPIC chief executive

“The scale and importance of the process industries, chemicals, polymers, pharmaceutical and biotech processing, to the North east Economy has been under-estimated for years. This is due to errors in the way that both locational and trade data is processed on the national scale. This is important because it means that the infrastructure and support needed for this sector does not feature on a national scale. We at NEPIC are working with BIS and ONS to “fix” this problem.

“There is also a growing understanding foundation industries like those in sectors, such as the process sector and oil & gas, need to work within integrated supply chains with clear industrial strategy to supply energy, raw materials and connectivity to downstream advanced manufacturing.

“These high added value industries only work in Clusters that are best understood and supported in the geographic regions in which they operate; otherwise their needs become invisible when diluted by national politics.

Steve Duffield, site director of Wilton Centre, the 75 acre science and innovation park located on Teesside

“Westminster has never worked as well as it should for the north east.  Unemployment in the region has risen yet again and the Teesside area in particular is still coming to terms with the closure of the area’s steelworks.

“The north east has plenty to offer businesses looking to invest and expand out overcrowded areas elsewhere in the UK.  In the North East land is cheaper, there is abundant choice of affordable occupancy in first-rate facilities and there is a fantastic workforce ready, willing and able to take on new challenges.

“Devolution will put the power in the hands of people who know and understand this region and allow us to create the conditions to attract world-class business to help to make the north east great again.”

Steve Pugh, group business development manager, Nortech

“We believe the ability to argue our case direct with Government will directly benefit the industry, better supporting the NEPIC cluster and long term viability of one of the UK’s most important supply chains.”

Graham Robb, regional chairman of the Institute of Directors North East

“The business community will be jumping for joy at this news. It is fantastic to see the local authorities and the Government have worked together to settle on a positive deal for the North East.”

James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce

“It is very positive to see the North East Combined Authority pressing ahead with a devolution deal, just as the Tees Valley is.”



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© Copyright. North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) 2015