Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Cities Minister visits Newcastle to discuss new deal for growth15 December 2011 10:23

Press release   •   Dec 15, 2011 11:05 GMT

Cities Minister Greg Clark will visit Newcastle today to continue talks on forging a new city deal in the area.

The Government announced last week that England’s largest cities, including Newcastle, are being offered new powers as the basis of bespoke city deals.

Government will free cities from Whitehall control in a number of areas to give local communities more flexibility, access to new opportunities and help to stimulate growth across the country.

Greg Clark will visit the North Eastern local enterprise partnership and Enterprise Zone, and hold discussions with local leaders from Newcastle City and Gateshead councils about putting together a successful deal that will see Newcastle given powers to jumpstart local growth.

Greg Clark said:

“Newcastle is one of the country’s economic powerhouses and we are giving the city the freedom it needs to meet its potential and get it firing on all cylinders.

“I want to work closely with the local enterprise partnership and local councils to agree a new deal that will successfully drive growth across the North East.

“I have no doubt about the ambition of local leaders in Newcastle to get this right, and I am determined that powers and tools are handed down to them to grow their economy."

Paul Woolston, Chair of the North Eastern LEP, said:

"I am delighted that the Government has given the green light for Newcastle to progress and implement a new city deal. Increased flexibility, from Whitehall, to deliver growth and employment will benefit the wider North East economy.

“The future of the city’s economy is at the heart of the North Eastern LEP. The North Eastern LEP really wants this to succeed."

Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said:

“At a time of high unemployment and low or no growth nationally, we are determined to make our city a ‘Working City’ and help lead the North East region out of recession and into sustainable growth.

“We are determined to be open for business and do all we can to create the best conditions for new jobs and investment.”

Councillor Mick Henry, Leader of Gateshead Council, said:

“At a time like this, it's crucial that we focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do. We need to work in partnership with local businesses and people to make sure we are not only ready for the recovery but that we lead it.

“We are still investing in exciting new projects that will provide room for innovative local companies to grow - like the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead's Baltic Business Quarter - and we need to look for more opportunities like this to create new jobs."

With all city deals, the city must guarantee that they can provide strong and accountable leadership, improve efficiency and outcomes, and be innovative in their approach.

The first wave of city deals will focus on the eight largest English cities outside London and their local enterprise partnerships. The Government will look to roll this process out to other cities in due course.

Newcastle recently received funding from the second round of the Regional Growth Fund, which will create growth and a significant number of jobs in the North East. The Neptune Energy Park project will support brownfield remediation, infrastructure development works and factory construction on part of the former Neptune Ship Yard on the River Tyne. And Central Gateway will improve access to key development sites in central Newcastle.