Boris Johnson at Port of Tyne in South Shields for CBI conference

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be under pressure to prove his worth on ‘Leveling Up’ on a visit to South Shields this morning.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 10:14 am

The PM is the keynote speaker as the Port of Tyne hosts the opening of the CBI National Conference live from the Port of Tyne.

A host of leading industry figures from the region are attending the port to hear how the area, for so long one of the nation’s industrial heartlands, will become a central part of Government’s targets to reduce carbon emissions.

Matt Beeton, Chief Executive Officer of Port of Tyne, said: “Thanks to a highly collaborative approach, working with businesses and organisations in the region, the North East is ideally placed to become Britain’s heartbeat of the Country’s drive towards net zero, not just locally, but nationally.

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Boris Johnson speaking at Port of Tyne,

“People will remember the huge impact on the country our shipbuilding had, our coal mining had, our railway engineering. Many of those industries have gone, but in their place is springing up the new generation of industry – new technologies, clean and renewable energy, electric vehicles, engineering and innovation to drive the country forward.

“This equates to jobs, social and economic transformation; local and regional rebuilding and unlocking the Tyne and beyond to the rest of not just the country, but the world.”

However, Mr Johnson does not seem set to get an easy ride.

Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said “very little” about how to revive regional economies outside the South East of England.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson .

Asked about the Government’s record on so-called “levelling up” in the lead-up to the CBI’s conference on Monday, Mr Danker told Sky News: “There has been lots of talk about the politics, about mayors and how our high streets look, and so on.

“What the Government hasn’t got on to yet is how do we get people better jobs, how do we get better skills, how do we make places like this (the North East) as much a hub of economic activity as the South?

“Now that isn’t easy for Government to do, they can’t do it alone.

“But we’ve really heard very little from the Prime Minister and the Government yet on how to do that, and that’s what I hope we’ll talk about today.”