The Government’s new Levelling Up Minister Michael Gove has applauded the power of local journalism as two of the most influential business voices in the North East backed The Northern Echo’s Level Up campaign.

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Mr Gove said local newspapers “are at the heart of any community, holding people in power to account”.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Lesley Moody, who leads the 3,000-strong North East England Chamber of Commerce, say the North East needs The Echo’s Level Up campaign to highlight the progress the region has made, challenge local and national Government to support us and to lay the foundations for a sustainable future for generations.

Ben Houchen told us: “Having a powerful voice for the region when so much is happening here is vital.

“The astonishing renaissance is the result of a united effort from hundreds of organisations large and small who are as determined as I am that the region is successful and The Northern Echo’s Level Up campaign is at the heart of that.

“The Echo has a history going back generations of campaigning and fighting to secure what is needed for this region to thrive. I applaud that and will support it however I can and urge businesses across the region to lend their voices to it and make sure we make the most of every single opportunity coming our way.

Read more: The latest Level Up stories from across the region

“A spotlight is shining on Teesside with such gamechanging success stories as the Treasury moving to Darlington, GE at Teesworks, the Freeport and Net Zero Teesside. We need to make sure as many people as possible hear about what is happening here and join us on the journey and the Level Up campaign will help do that.”

NEECC President Lesley Moody, MBE, said the Echo campaign was perfectly timed as the region embraced so much change.

“As a Chamber speaking up for more than 3,000 businesses, we know how important it is to have a powerful voice in debates that affect our livelihoods and the future success of the North East.

“The Northern Echo shares that goal and we are proud to support its Level Up campaign. As they have done for more than 150 years, they are in a powerful position to speak up for the businesses based here and to help attract more inward investment for the future.

“We look forward to working with them as the campaign reaches out to local and national government, where our combined voice will grow stronger and even more influential.”

Mr Gove took his copy of the Echo’s BUSINESSiQ magazine and told us: “I am absolutely committed to the health and vitality of local newspapers, they are at the heart of any community, providing people with the information they need, holding people in power to account, and acting as absolutely vital piece of the glue in the social network.

“With levelling up, one of the ways we know if we are meeting the needs that people have is through The Northern Echo and other great regional papers here - all absolutely vital elements of making places great again.”

  • To be part of The Echo's Level Up campaign contact or