NECC’s Development Group convened to discuss the progress of local plans in the North East following a presentation on the issue from Richard Newsome, Bilfinger GVA. While the Group recognised the efforts by many authorities to progress their local plans, as well as the many reasons to invest and develop in the region, there is frustration at the slow progress.
The Group also expressed concern about the number of neighbourhood plans coming forward while local plans stall; the former are increasingly being used to stifle development and the Group stressed the need for clarity as to whether neighbourhood or local plans would be given precedence in such instances.
Other issues touched upon included the barriers to self-build, zero carbon homes and the Northern Powerhouse. Full notes for the meeting can be found here.
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NECC’s Buy North East Steering Group – a group of members overseeing our campaign for public procurement reform – met on 17 June. The main agenda item was a presentation from Andrea Tickner (Service Director, Corporate Commissioning and Procurement at Gateshead Council) on the implications and implementation of the new EU Directive for Public Contracts.
Some of the main procurement reforms covered included:
Full notes for meeting can be seen here.
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The latest employment numbers for the North East have been released today:
When comparing today’s figures with those over the last 12 months, the North East is still making remarkable progress in reducing unemployment and increasing the number of people in work.
Although these numbers represent a slight softening in the improvements in the labour market we’ve seen recently, it is positive that the North East continues to reduce unemployment at a faster rate than the UK average.
These numbers come at a time when we’re increasingly hearing that businesses are facing skills shortages and are struggling to hire the right people but today’s figures suggest there are still talented people available in the North East’s labour market.
Nevertheless, we shouldn’t get complacent. These improvements can only be sustained for so long before we face a real skills crisis in some sectors. We must continue to build a dialogue between education institutions and organisations who have the potential to welcome future apprentices and learners into their work place to experience first-hand the world of work.
NECC has joined with other Chambers of Commerce in the East Midlands and Yorkshire to write a joint letter to the Treasury, urging Chancellor George Osborne to bring forward the confirmation and delivery of the Eastern Leg of HS2.
The letter, which has been signed by NECC Chief Executive James Ramsbotham and fellow chief executives from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, Doncaster, Sheffield, and Bradford, Leeds, York and North Yorkshire, says it’s imperative that Government confirms the route as quickly as possible and accelerates its delivery plans.
The areas along the proposed Eastern Leg of HS2 are already home to some of the UK’s most dynamic and innovative manufacturing and engineering firms, and also boast a strong professional services sector in their cities, a thriving construction sector and a burgeoning creative industries sector, among others.
The letter states that improving links between these businesses will allow them to exploit the benefits of agglomeration, boost success in these key sectors and help to forge an economy that is truly balanced, both geographically and sectorally. The increased productivity and competitiveness which the HS2 Eastern Leg will facilitate could also bolster growth locally and support long-term international success.
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NECC’s Quarterly Economic Survey for Quarter 2 2015 is now open for members to complete. This is the biggest regular business survey in the region and is crucial in enabling us to brief decision makers and campaign on members’ behalf.
Please complete the survey here. We will donate £1 to charity for every completed survey, and if you leave your contact details we will send a full report and an invitation to a briefing event when it is published in July.
For any further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.