The Strategic Economic Plan

Working together to deliver 100,000 more and better jobs for the North East

What is the Strategic Economic Plan?

In 2014, we established our long term vision of a stronger North East economy which offers better opportunities for our people and businesses. The Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) is the document that sets out how we will work with our partners to achieve this.

The plan outlines medium term economic objectives for the North East and identifies interventions and investments to support economic growth, improve productivity and to increase the number of those employed, particularly in higher quality jobs. The SEP is recognised by Government as the policy document that sets the strategic direction for our economy.

Our performance so far

The SEP has two headline targets:

  • To increase the number of jobs in the North East economy by 100,000 by 2024
  • To ensure that 70% of the jobs growth is in better jobs.

It also aims to close the gap in performance compared with other parts of the UK across four other key economic indicators. The North East is performing well against these targets and we are tracking our progress regularly.

Areas of opportunity

We want to work with our partners to grow the North East economy, increasing productivity, prosperity and creating more and better jobs and opportunities for the region.

To do this, we have identified four business opportunity areas that provide huge potential to generate jobs within the North East economy. These are:

  • Digital
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Health and life sciences
  • Subsea, offshore and energy technologies

We have a strong service industry, enabling growing employment in a number of areas too.

  • Financial and professional business services  – we are home to key segments of the UK’s £180 billion including fintech, banking, insurance, and accounting services sectors
  • Transport and logistics – our air and sea ports are crucial to enabling the North East and UK economy, as are our logistics, haulage and passenger transport businesses
  • Education sector – includes over 700 schools, 9 colleges of further education and four universities with 82,000 students

You can find out more about the areas of business growth opportunity for the North East here.

Focus areas

In order to make the vision for the North East a reality, our plan focuses on several key programmes. Find out more about the focus areas here.


Where can I find out more about the targets in the Strategic Economic Plan and how we are performing against them?

You can find information on all of our targets here. The North East LEP is constantly reviewing progress against the targets as new data emerges and publishing regular updates on the news section of this website.

How was the SEP developed?

The first version of the Strategic Economic Plan was published in April 2014. It followed on from the North East Independent Economic Review and set out a high level vision for the economy and included investment programmes for Local Growth Fund and European funds which were available at that time.

The SEP was refreshed during 2016 and launched in March 2017 following an extensive consultation involving businesses and economic partners. The refresh process enabled the region to reflect on new economic data following the end of the recession and the changing economic policy environment including the decision to leave the European Union.

Where can I find out more information about the actions the LEP and its partners will take to deliver the SEP?

The refreshed SEP sets out our plans to work with partners across each of the six programmes of activity.

Find out more about the programmes of activity.

Who are the LEP’s partners with regards to delivery of the SEP?

A range of partners work with the North East LEP to help deliver the SEP. Our partners in Local Government are responsible for planning and regional transport programmes set out in the document, and a wide range of other organisations take part in LEP programmes to support SEP objectives including through our Innovation, Business Growth and Skills Boards which include key partners from business organisations, universities and colleges. A number of central Government departments and Agencies are actively involved in our work.

Find out more about our Boards and Advisory Panels.

What is a ‘better’ job?

A ‘better’ job is defined as being in the top three Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) categories, which are: managers, directors and senior officials; professional occupations; and associate professional and technical occupations. Measuring this means we can demonstrate the growth of higher skilled roles in our economy.

Where can I find out more information about projects that the LEP has funded?

All of the projects that the North East LEP is currently funding can be found on our projects page.

Do you offer any financial support to businesses who want to grow their business?

The LEP manages three funds directly and supports a number of others. You can find out more about these funds in our funding pages.

Want to learn more about the
Strategic Economic Plan for the North East?

Download the plan here