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Newcastle City Council Launch Inclusive Economic Strategy – ‘An Economy For All And Not Just The Few’

Newcastle Council and its partners have promised to work together to create a city where everyone can reach their potential.

They made the announcment as the city unveiled its first ever ‘Inclusive Economic Strategy’ to help ensure that opportunity and wealth flows to all and not just the few. Businesses and community leaders as well as anchor institutions met in the Great Hall of the Discovery Museum to discuss how to work collaboratively to make Newcastle’s economy work better for the good of all residents, as well as SME and large companies.

Opening the event Coun Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle Council, said:

”As the engine of the North-east economy Newcastle is doing brilliant things with its significant assets but often success only reaches the few, and inequalities between our residents become entrenched.

”This harms lives, limits our growth and impacts on the capacity of businesses and communities to thrive. This ambitious strategy is about continuing to grow our economy and make a fundamental change in how that growth is transmitted and benefits our residents, delivering equitable economic outcomes and opportunities of who they are, what part of the city they live or work in.”

Institutions who attended the event and pledged to support the strategy included businesses, Newcastle and Northumbria universities, Newcastle College, hospitals, and the VCS among others.

At its heart is five objectives: encouraging strong economic assets in all sectors; use the city’s reputation for innovation to be more inclusive and spreading opportunities wider; create a reliable affordable public transport system so that residents can access opportunities; ensure wealth flows more feely by employing local people and procuring local companies; and working to encourage healthier lifestyles and wellbeing.

The anchor institutions agreed to:

  • Target help at those not given opportunities to access employment, education or training
  • Improve employment opportunities for neighbourhood which have received fewer benefits from the growth in the city centre
  • Promote a level playing field for SME, community, and voluntary organisations to access procurement opportunities in anchor organisations.

Jane Robinson, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Engagement and Place at Newcastle University, said: 

“As a university we’re committed to working with our partners in the city to deliver an inclusive economy, and that’s about our research, our education, but also how we operate as an anchor institution in the city.

”We are proud to be accredited as a Real Living Wage employer back in 2019 and we continue to do all we can through our different strategies to make a difference in this great city.”

Andy Haddon, of the Big River Bakery, a social enterprise in Shieldfield, Newcastle which delivers training, spoke at the event.

He said:

” Everyone should have access to healthy, affordable food and that’s what we’ve tried to create with our bakery, so it is inclusive. We’ve kept prices down despite the increases because we want to find a way to feed people who have no money.”

Kate Squire, BBC Head of Production NE/NW, said:

”The BBC is here to give value to every single part of our audience. We know it is important to connect with audiences in the North East. We are proud to have made a really big investment in the economy here – £25m over the next five years.

”Newcastle is a fantastic city. It is vibrant, full of characters and full of culture. I think it is a bit of a sleeping giant, and I think it is beginning to wake up in all sorts of respects and really stamp itself on England and  the North East,” she added.

The Council also unveiled its anti-poverty strategy as part of its inclusive economic agenda. In Newcastle 42% of children live in poverty, 44% of neighbourhoods are in the 30% most deprived in England and 27% of the working age population are economically inactive.

The aim of the strategy is to prevent residents falling into poverty, target support at those experiencing poverty now and campaign for long-term change to reduce it.

Deputy leader Coun Karen Kilgour, said:

”While poverty is not new, neither is it inevitable. This strategy is a sign of the Council’s intent to work differently with residents, partners, trade unions, businesses, and the voluntary and community sector to redouble efforts to create more opportunities for residents so that they can lead full, healthy and happy lives.”

By Stephen Lambert

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