This month, The Journal reported that not one single area of the North East was listed in the top 150 prosperous areas in the country, indicating that there is a long way to go in terms of levelling up.
With this in mind, we asked members:
What investment do you think is needed for the North East to level up?
“Substantial regional differences in economic performance exist across the UK; economic output per head of resident population in London is roughly 2.5 times that of the North East of England, with the North East being the worst performing region. Whilst the Government has pledged to address regional inequality and to level up the country, the Covid-19 pandemic has made levelling up even harder.
“The Government needs to invest in skills to boost investment in further education and to make the region more attractive to businesses. More investment is required in the region’s major towns and cities to make them more attractive places for high skilled companies to do business.
“Congestion in our major urban areas is a barrier to further growth. Increased investment in the transport infrastructure would help create job opportunities and stimulate economic growth.”
Michael Blake, Director, Youngs RPS
“We need to invest in our public spaces and in particular the greening of our city centres and a move away from endless hard landscaping and classing a row of trees as a ‘green corridor’.
“The spaces in our cities are the first thing people see when they arrive and are a key component of good placemaking and scene setting; they really impact on an individual’s perception of a place and their sense of wellbeing.”
Suzanne Blair, Associate Director, GT3 Architects
“Building on the successful Tees Valley Freeport announcement, where the North East will be one of eight ‘economic zones’ across the UK, we need to see greater investment from government into Research and Innovation Zones with tax and grant incentives across the North.
“This would support the North East to attract high value inward investors who value localised supply chains, skills, and recognised innovation clusters. Linked to our international academic strengths and strategic sector priorities, these zones would leverage our ability to attract overseas investors who want to access new markets and scale.
“Greater procurement power and a focus on UK content would also be welcomed, enabling us to give existing and new inward investors the opportunity to access large-scale contracts and will help to level up the economic performance of the UK.”
Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle
To contribute a quote or take part in our Levelling Up series, please contact Katy Moody – [email protected]