The refreshed Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) reveals that a confident region is ahead of its ten-year target to create 100,000 new and better jobs by 2024 and will be unveiled to business leaders today.
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has worked with the business community and partners across the region to refresh the SEP for 2017 – to better reflect a changing business and political landscape dominated by Brexit and the challenges of globalisation. The SEP sets out how the region can build on its recent successes and continue to create more and better jobs for the region.
Business leaders will back the updated plan at a meeting in the NewcastleGateshead Hilton Hotel today – learning about the progress of the regional economy since the original SEP was published in 2014, and the goals of the new document.
Keynote speakers Sarah Green, CBI Director of Member Relations and Regions and Nations, John Cridland, Chair of Transport for the North. and Professor Sir John Holman of the Gatsby Foundation, will give their support to the refreshed plan.
The new SEP reveals:
- The North East is ahead of schedule to reach its 100,000 more and better jobs target before 2024 – over 53,000 jobs created since 2014, with 63% of these classed as higher skilled jobs
- Stretching targets to have 70% of new jobs created over the next seven years in more skilled posts
- Digital technology, advanced manufacturing, healthcare innovation, energy, service sector and quality business space are the business sectors identified as underpinning a surge in new regional employment
- Job growth increased at a rate of 6.6% over the past two years eclipsing the national rate of 5.4% in England
- The North East is a £37bn economy, employing 865,000 people
- Key challenges remain – delivering higher regional productivity is essential as the gap widens with national performance, while economic exclusion remains a persistent concern in some parts of the region.
Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair, welcomed the Government’s commitment to a strengthened Industrial Strategy, working to diversify the economic structure of the UK by focusing on economic development outside the South East.
He said that the refreshed SEP provides a solid foundation to ensure the North East is in a strong position to bid for new investment in future.
In this context, we believe that now is the right time to be more ambitious for the North East,” he said. “The progress we have made towards the targets we set out in the original SEP in 2014 has exceeded our expectations.
As well as refreshing our delivery plan, we have also revised our key targets. Our aim will be to reach our target of 100,000 more and better jobs early and stretch that further.
Given the need to address the productivity challenge, it is particularly encouraging that the percentage of better jobs created has reached 63%, already ahead of our original target.
Sarah Green said:
The North East business community has fully endorsed the refreshed SEP which drew heavily on business input during its consultation process. The CBI places huge importance on regional growth to fuel national economic performance.
John Cridland said:
Transport is part of a wider strategy to connect up the North to strengthen labour markets, to connect the North to markets nationally and internationally and to build a vision of a modern economy with excellent infrastructure which can secure investment and be an effective trade partner.
Professor Sir John Holman said:
Productivity growth is impossible without skilled people, and the SEP is right to identify skills as one of its key enablers. Critical ingredients are good career guidance in schools and colleges and high quality routes to technical qualifications. I’m glad that the SEP is leading the way in emphasising both of these ingredients and that, where the North East leads, national policy follows.