Monday, 9 September 2013

The Adonis conference on Friday in Newcastle

A fascinating day. I met and talked in particular with such diverse figures as Lord Adonis, Ed Twiddy, head of the LEP, Heidi Mottram, of Northumberland Water, Beth Farhat, the leader of the northern TUC (more to follow of that constructive meeting), Grant Davey, the leader of Northumberland County Council, and his chief executive, Steve Stewart, (again a very constructive meeting) plus various schools leaders, bus providers and transport enthusiasts.
The morning featured a panel discussion and much discussion as to the report. I found no one who was not supportive.
I was on a panel in the afternoon discussing how we get bank, private and public finance in the north east and taking questions from amongst others a church leader, labour politician (Helen goodman came to the breakout session I was on the panel of), and the deputy leader of the south Tyneside council, as well as many more.
There was a real sense that most of the North East politicians and business leaders are singing from the same hymn sheet, accepting of the need to think and act differently and broadly optimistic for the future of our region. No one is underestimating the task that lies ahead and clearly we live in difficult economic times but this report is the blueprint for regional development, jobs and growth.
It's authors should be thanked long and hard for their efforts on behalf of our region.
For my part I will be doing all I can to ensure that the report becomes reality.