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Business & Economy

Support for devolution from Developing Consensus

Developing Consensus, the region’s business-led property partnership, with over 100 members and responsible for in excess of £1bn of investment into the regional economy, confirms its support for the North of Tyne devolution announcement.

In congratulating the leaders and executives of the constituent authorities in their bid to collaborate for the greater good of our region, Adam Serfontein, managing director of The Hanro Group and chair of Developing Consensus said: “We welcome the agreement by Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland councils to reach a North of Tyne devolution agreement whereby the three local authorities will work closer than ever before.

“This formal collaboration will promote economic regeneration and prosperity for a significant part of the North East Combined Authority area. We hope that in time the remaining four authorities will wish to be part of this. I know that part of the North of Tyne strategy is to welcome them and this is to be applauded”.

He adds: “Yes, it’s taken a long time to get to this point but we need to acknowledge the hurdles that the three authorities have overcome. The North East region, defined as one of nine official regions of England covering Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland, and Durham, has been under no illusion of Central Government’s call for devolution.

“This is a prerequisite for our region to attract the share of central Government funding that is clearly needed for us to achieve our objectives. This was made perfectly clear through the recent City Deal funding where those regions which had collaborated in this way were rewarded and we, as a region, effectively lost out”.

It has taken over two years to get this far during which time the sentiment within the UK economy has changed.

“We regard this as a bold and very welcome step forward. While we still do not have a single devolved vehicle for the region we do now have the vehicle for those authorities north of the river Tyne,” adds Adam.

“The key to the North East region’s success is to welcome this as significant progress and work closely with the public sector to support them with the interim arrangements and champion a mayor and the leaders of the new vehicle. Together we can implement imaginative strategies to improve our infrastructure and transport, access to finance, our planning process, inward investment and the outputs of increased employment and improvement in our region’s GDP.

“It is imperative that the North of Tyne team gains momentum with the support of all to challenge and persuade central Government to make additional funds available. We must promote the skills in our region and the valuable supply of graduates, alongside the opportunities that exist. The North of Tyne team has delivered what was required and we now must make sure we are rewarded.

“Stability is key. There is likely to be on-going global uncertainty, and to counter this we have a real opportunity to achieve a step change in our offer.

“Newcastle is a regional capital and is globally recognised as such. That said, neither Newcastle nor our region can function to its potential and continue to grow without the recognition that all the constituent parts have unique strengths and that we function better together.

“This coalition of the willing is formal recognition of that. We have the quality and the names of companies located throughout our region; the cluster of industries along the Tyne and at Blyth relating to the offshore sector; the manufacturing skills; potential for greater connectivity; the digital/tech clusters that have been established; the quality of our universities and graduates; the quality of life and wonderful Northumberland coastline and countryside; availability of housing both cost-effective and executive. It’s a winning combination, particularly when offered in a coordinated way.”