Government sets out £289million deal for growth

A new Growth Deal for the North East will see more than £289million invested in the region.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership has secured £111.7million from the Government in the first year, with an indicative award of a further £177.6million from 2016/17.

The funding will be used to deliver a number of economic projects starting in 2015/16 that promise to create up to 4,000 jobs and generate around £90million in public and private investment.

Key features of the deal include investment in preparing land and business parks to encourage more companies to locate in the area, the creation of rural enterprise hubs to offer flexible workspace for small businesses, projects to support technological advances, and a skills improvement package to improve training in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, offshore wind and low carbon energy technology, and other science industries.

There will also be a rural growth network to plug infrastructure gaps in market towns, transport improvements, superfast broadband networks, a school model to raise attainment, and advice for small businesses.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This historic deal means real change for the North East, with plans to attract new business to the area, drive innovation and invest in skills in key sectors.

“It will help ensure young people in the region have the skills they need to get on and help ensure the North East has the workforce it needs to prosper.”

Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith said: “This is a fantastic deal for the North East, which will bring much-needed jobs and training opportunities to the region and strengthen our economy.

“To get this level of investment into our area is a real achievement.”