NECC Women’s Advisory Board

NECC’s Women’s Advisory Board met on 12 February. The Women’s Advisory Board is there to lead NECC’s work to connect and inspire women in business in the North East. Last week’s meeting discussed the events calendar for 2015, which will include the IF (Inspiring Females) conference on 12 June, and the WIN Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards on 13 November.

The Board also agreed a set of issues over which we will be aiming to influence policy before and after the general election this year, on the themes of supporting female entrepreneurship, maximising career development, and bridging the gender gap in skills.

Please give your view by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing

Posted in Business Support by ross.smith. No Comments

North Tyneside Local Plan Consultation

Following a previous round of consultation in 2013, North Tyneside Council is consulting on the latest version of their Local Plan.

This a hugely important document that will shape the long term planning environment in the borough. The latest version reflects the feedback received in 2013 and contains updated evidence about the future demand for jobs and homes in North Tyneside.

Further information is available here. NECC will be submitting a response to the consultation on behalf of members. If you would like to help shape this response, leave a comment below or contact

Posted in North Tyneside Planning by jonathan.walker. No Comments

British Chambers of Commerce conference

NECC yesterday attended the British Chambers of Commerce conference, which was addressed by a series of leading politicians.

Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech in which he called on businesses to increase pay for staff. He also announced an aim for local authorities to retain two-thirds of business rates in the next Parliament and a new ‘Help to Grow’ scheme to guarantee loans for high growth businesses. Leader of the House William Hague spoke in a debate on devolution, focusing on the ‘English votes for English laws’ issue as well as opportunities for city deals.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls‘ speech promised a swift decision on airport capacity and focused heavily on the dangers of leaving the EU. Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna set out a strongly pro-business position, stating business growth was essential to deliver a fair society. He covered proposals to strengthen apprenticeships and export support, and committed to retain LEPs – though with possible reforms to powers and budgets.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stressed the need for stable government, and spoke of an aim to increase opportunities for women, aiming for one million more in work by the end of the next Parliament. Business Secretary Vince Cable discussed finance, including the future of the Business Bank and issues of late payment.

Other speakers included BT’s Danny Longbottom, who covered innovation and digital infrastructure, and Heathrow Airport’s John Holland-Kaye, who set out the case for expansion.

Please give your view by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing


Sunderland City Council Budget

NECC members met with Sunderland City Council to discuss the Local Authority’s budget and priorities for 2015/16. The Council continues to face significant financial pressures due to Government grant changes of £25.7m, coupled with further cost pressures equating to £10.9m.

These pressures mean that further savings will need to be found from back office efficiencies and changes, alongside increased income generation and changes to front line services. Despite this, the Council remains committed to a major capital programme which will regenerate key development sites across the city and improve infrastructure.

Members were sympathetic towards the gravity of the financial challenges and praised the Council for the way spending reductions have been managed so far, particularly in relation to community assets and facilities. There were also discussions about the need to improve integration between the Council and health services, as well as proposed timetables for key developments in the city centre.

NECC meets regularly with all local authorities in the North East to raise issues on behalf of members. To find out more about this work, contact

Posted in Sunderland by jonathan.walker. No Comments

NECC work with North East Procurement Organisation

NECC Director of Policy Ross Smith has agreed to chair the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) Stakeholder Group. NECC and its members have worked with NEPO - the collaborative procurement network for local authorities in the North East – over several years to improve public procurement in the region. NECC will aim to use this new arrangement to ensure the views of suppliers are better reflected and that public procurement makes the maximum contribution to economic development in the North East.

NECC will be aiming to create opportunities throughout the year for businesses to directly influence procurement policy and processes, particularly through our Buy North East Steering Group – a body of members that oversees our campaign on public procurement. More information on NEPO, which has recently come under the management of the Association of North East Councils, can be seen here.

To give your view, or for information on getting involved with Buy North East, please leave a comment on this blog or email



Posted in Buy North East by ross.smith. No Comments