March 27, 2020 @ 10:06 by Chloe Holmes
A North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group has been launched to provide maximum support for businesses in the immediate term and plan for long-term economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership, CBI, North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities have come together, with the support of industry, to ensure the North East has strong economic leadership that acts quickly and collaboratively to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
The immediate focus is on supporting businesses to remain operational, to keep people in employment and to work with partners to solve industry challenges.
By co-ordinating one response to the current economic crisis, the Group will use one voice and its collective influence to reassure the North East public, deliver crucial interventions and lobby Government.
Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East LEP, said: “Right now the region needs a strong, coherent response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and support businesses through the immediate shock.
“Through our work with the CBI, our two Combined Authorities and all our partners, everyone in the North East can be confident that the right steps are being taken to support the local economy, build business resilience and get the region ready for recovery.
“Not only are we making sure the appropriate support is available on the ground, we will continue to engage with Government to ensure the North East is fully represented at this time.”
Sarah Glendinning, regional director for the CBI North East, said: “This is an incredibly challenging time for all of the North East, with immediate impact for our local businesses and employees. This group will be critical in our response to COVID-19 and with the support of the wider regional business organisations, we will ensure the needs of all sizes and sectors of our economy are considered.
“The scale of these matters is immense and will require the concentrated effort of our local organisations to seek to coordinate the promised national level of support, addressing the immediate and long-term challenges arising from this emergency situation.
“We need to deal with the crisis raging around us and start planning for the recovery.”
Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of the North of Tyne Combined Authority, said: “Working together as a region is so important. I’m regularly speaking to ministers and officials to make sure our workers, businesses and the self-employed get the support they need. And my cabinet colleagues and our staff team are already preparing to get the economy back on its feet as soon as the public health crisis is over.”
Councillor Iain Malcolm, chair, North East Combined Authority, said: “Our businesses, large and small, are vital to the prosperity of our region, and will be crucial in helping our local economy recover when we have beaten this virus.
“We know that swift action is vital to support cash flow and protect jobs. We are working with Government and other partners nationally and regionally to unlock all available support and financial assistance to allow businesses across the North East to continue to operate through this crisis and beyond.”
A dedicated North East COVID-19 Response Group web page has been launched for those looking for more information and partners wanting to engage with its work. This is available at https://www.northeastlep.co.uk/north-east-covid-19-response-group.
North East businesses can also access the North East Growth Hub, where a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) toolkit provides the most up to date support and advice, including partner information: https://www.northeastgrowthhub.co.uk/toolkits/covid-19-coronavirus-toolkit