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Bishop appointed to economic review team
A HIGH profile team has been appointed to produce a bold new strategy to
help drive the North-East economy over the next 20 years.
The Local Enterprise Partnership (Lep), which covers County Durham, Tyneside, Wearside and Northumberland, has commissioned the in-depth study that will be led by former Labour transport secretary, Lord Andrew Adonis.
His team includes Will Hutton, former editor in chief of the Observer; Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water and member of the CBI's national infrastructure panel; and the Right Reverend Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham. There will also be a public debate and views taken from a wide range of local experts.
Bishop Welby said: "I am privileged and delighted to have been asked to contribute to this strategic review and to working with the team in its leadership. It is critical for the social and economic well-being of the region that a review of the current economic situation and the underlying drivers are reviewed widely.
"Additionally, I will be pushing for the review to make strategic recommendations as to how the region, its partners and inward investment can be structured so as to make a very real and permanent difference to the people of the region."
The group will spend six months looking at what can be done to maximise the potential of the region's economy, before its recommendations are passed to Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.
"There is enormous potential for growth in the North-East," said Mr Clegg.
"The region has a proud history of manufacturing and sectors like this are an important part of the North-East's economic future too.
"For too long the UK economy has been focused on the City of London, ignoring the potential powerhouses of North-East cities. This region is a place where business can thrive, where things are built and made, I want to see much more of this."
He hoped the review would challenge existing assumptions and approaches, adding: "It's not enough just to get us back to where we were. There can be no forgotten areas of Britain. We need to rebalance the economy by fostering growth across the region and across a range of industries."
James Ramsbotham, NECC chief executive, called on businesses to
ensure their voices are heard. "The global economy has changed radically over the past four years to an extent that could never have been predicted," he said. "The region needs an economic blueprint that reflects these changing times and not only builds on our strengths, but helps develop areas of our economy that could be performing better.
"I would urge businesses to support the North Eastern Lep and get behind this economic review. It is our opportunity to be ambitious and have a major say in shaping the future economic priorities of the North-East.
"NECC supports and applauds the aims of the review, but it is important that it is completed and ready to be put into action as soon as possible."