Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Adonis review is good news for the north east

I helped contribute ideas to the Adonis review and think the authors have done a great job - the full report is here and I am still going through it in detail:
It is intended as a manifesto for business, public service and political leaders across the LEP region.
Lord Adonis writes as follows:
"I sense a real appetite for change to promote more and better jobs and a better quality of life in the North East. Although commissioned by the North East LEP, it is pitched to a far wider audience, just as the LEP itself is a real partnership, indeed a federation of support drawn widely and often from those who are not directly represented on its Board. Big change is already in the making. The decision last month by the seven local authorities in the North East LEP region to establish a Combined Authority to take on responsibility for transport, skills and economic development is a breakthrough in vision, capacity and dynamism to tackle future challenges in partnership. I warmly welcome this bold initiative. This report offers an agenda for the Combined Authority and for the LEP and its partners.

It highlights five priorities in particular:
1. Champion “North East International”, promoting the region at home and abroad as a magnet for trade, talent, tourism and inward investment.

2. A doubling in the number of youth apprenticeships to tackle the evil of low skills and high youth unemployment, alongside higher school standards and an increase in the proportion going on to higher education.

3. The development of strong “innovation and growth clusters”, stimulating universities and their graduates, and existing companies and public institutions, to create and finance new high growth enterprises and jobs.

4. Big improvements in transport infrastructure and services to overcome the relative national and international isolation of the North East and to improve connections within the North East so that people can get to and from work more easily and cheaply.

5. The creation of stronger public institutions, including the location of key national institutions – such as the new British Business Bank – in the North East.
By these means, the North East can create more and better jobs, and a better economy and society.
All this is within our grasp. The task now is to agree on a plan and implement it. There is no time to lose.
On a personal note, although I was often in the North East in previous ministerial roles, and know many of its schools and transport networks from that period, getting to know the area’s companies, institutions and communities more intimately in recent months has been immensely stimulating. It has left me full of optimism for the region and its future. The North East has great strengths – in its people, its enterprises, its public institutions, and its natural, cultural, and so many other assets. There is huge capacity for success in the future, with will and leadership."