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North East MPs, House of Lords members and North East LEP board members met at the House of Commons this week to discuss priorities for the North East Economic Review.

The Right Hon David Miliband MP hosted the meeting, which he summed up as “an open, visionary and practical conversation.”

Lord Andrew Adonis, chair of the North East Independent Economic Review, said that the North East has great strengths, two of which are its exporting of manufactured goods and its higher education sector, a net importer of talented people to the area. He also said he was a strong supporter of a combined authority in the North East LEP area, to be responsible for skills training, transport and economic development.

The group debated ideas including regional banks run by local businesspeople, smart specialisation, universities opening up their intellectual property to gain competitive advantage, open innovation clusters, broadband across the NELEP area, innovation scholarships, increased skills training, and stronger partnerships between private and public sectors and between businesses and universities to encourage economic growth.

The meeting also questioned how to build on the success of world leading companies in the area, and how to identify those sectors which can bring more internationally successful businesses to the North East LEP area.

The meeting brought together Lord Andrew Adonis, Lord Michael Bates, Lord Don Curry, Lord Brian Mackenzie, Lord John Shipley, Baroness Hilary Armstrong and the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Martin Wharton. MPs included David Miliband, Alan Campbell, Ronnie Campbell, Julie Elliott, Mary Glindon, Helen Goodman, Sharon Hodgson, Catherine McKinnell, Guy Opperman and Phil Wilson.

The North East LEP was represented by both vice-chairmen, Andrew Hodgson and Councillor Mick Henry, chair of LA7, director Edward Twiddy and board members Councillor Jeff Reid of Northumberland County Council, Councillor Iain Malcolm of South Tyneside Council and Jane Robinson, chief executive of Gateshead Council.

Andrew Hodgson, vice-chair of the North East LEP and chief executive of SMD said: “The meeting was extremely valuable in bringing together people who are all strongly committed to the North East to discuss their views and concerns about its long-term growth.

“The aim of the review is to bring forward recommendations which will lay the foundation for a sustainable and robust economy across the North East LEP area. We’re delighted that the meeting was so well-attended, and to have heard contributions and ideas from those who represent many constituencies across the North East LEP area.”

The North East Independent Economic Review team will be publishing its recommendations later this Spring.

Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246.

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