BUSINESS leaders in the region have welcomed a report from Lord Heseltine, which included a call for funds to back industry to be distributed locally, rather than through central government.
The former Conservative minister’s review makes 89 recommendations. One of its key aims is to shift £49bn from central government to regional decision makers such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP). The aim, he said, was to devolve power from Whitehall and re-energise the cities and regions capable of fuelling growth.
Paul Woolston, chairman of the North-East LEP, said: “Bringing the levers of growth closer to those who understand the differences in local labour markets and economies makes sense, and leads to better value for money.”
Councillor Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council and North-East LEP board member, who hosted Lord Andrew Adonis as part of the Labour Peer’s fact-finding mission for the North- East Economic Review, said: “The North East LEP is ready and able to play an even greater role in promoting the region’s future, and Lord Heseltine is providing an opportunity for Government to reconsider some of the nationalisation of policy.
“For the future of the North-East and the UK more widely, I hope they take up the challenge he has set.”