A PARTNERSHIP which was set up to drive South Tyneside’s economy forward is achieving growth at one of the fastest rates in the UK.
The Office for National Statistics has compiled a study on the performances of every local enterprise partnership (LEP) in the country.
It showed that, in 2013, the North Eastern LEP – which serves South Tyneside, County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, and Sunderland – had the fourth highest growth rate in the country at 3.3 per cent.
The figures were based on economic output relative to changes in the size of the population, known as Gross Value Added or GVA.
The LEP also ranked fifth best in the country for GVA growth per head on average between 2003 and 2013 with a growth rate of three per cent.
LEPs are partnerships in England between local authorities and businesses. Their role is to help shape local economic priorities and drive economic growth and the creation of jobs.
John Anglin, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration and economy, welcomed the figures and believes further growth could be just around the corner.
He said: “This reflects on the way that local councils are working closely with private enterprise.
“The very fact that we are in the top ten per cent of the country is a great sign and reflects how businesses in the area are working in the private sector to bring forward results.”
He said much of the success could be down to the influence of Nissan but Coun Anglin believes the planned new International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), next to the Testo’s roundabout, split between West Boldon and Sunderland, could be “another Nissan”.
“It will be a big deal if it happens,” he added.
And that would mean further growth for a LEP area which already ranks among the top 10 in the country.
A breakdown of the statistics shows the LEPs serving Greater Manchester, the Black Country, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, South East Midlands and London had the LEPs with the best-performing growth rates in 2013.
Chris Milne, chief economist for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Today’s figures from the ONS show that the North East LEP area has seen strong growth in both productivity and GVA over the past year. The regional economy is continuing to grow following the general recession which affected growth rates from 2008.
“Growth in GVA per head during 2013 and over the previous 10 years has been amongst the highest rates in the country at 3.3 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively.”
Chris added: “Yesterday’s employment figures, also from the ONS, showed strong growth of employment in the automotive, service, health, professional, scientific and technical sectors in the past year.
“These are high-value sectors providing not only more but also better, more highly skilled, jobs for the region’s workforce. Many organisations within these fields are based in the South Tyneside and Sunderland areas. It’s good news because the region needs these types of high skilled jobs to drive greater productivity.
“The North East has also seen strong export performance in recent years and is the only net exporting region in England.”