MPs and council leaders invited to Journal's debate on North East devolution

Event on April 21 aims to keep regional devolution on the agenda in the run-up to the General Election

Fergus Trim, Broadoak Asset Management director
Fergus Trim, Broadoak Asset Management director

MPs and council leaders from across the North East are being invited to a Journal event designed to keep regional devolution on the election agenda.

The devolution breakfast is being held on April 21 to give business leaders and opinion formers the chance to shape the debate on how the North East could get more power under the next Government.

The event is being organised in conjunction with Developing Consensus, a private and public partnership that is aiming to address the issues facing development of the Newcastle area.

An expert panel is being lined up to answer questions from people at the event on increased powers for the region.

Panel members so far confirmed include Simon Henig, chair of the North East Combined Authority; Dianne Sharp, regional director of the CBI; Luke Raikes from the think tank ippr North; and Fergus Trim, from the Quorum Business Park. Further panel members are expected to be announced in the next week.

Dianne Sharp
Dianne Sharp

Invites to the event have been sent to all MPs and council leaders in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and County Durham.

The event has also been backed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, whose recent survey of its 2,000 North East members showed that regional devolution is one of their major concerns.

David Furniss, chair of the RICS North East regional board, said: “Our members voice was loudest when it came to the need for regional growth. There was a strong call for something that was bigger than local but smaller than national, asking political parties to focus on local growth and devolving further spending powers and responsibilities, in particular for infrastructure and housing delivery.

“Based on this, RICS has backed the principle of regional devolution, proposing that we strengthen the current frameworks of cities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Combined Authorities and, where they are wanted and effective, city mayors.”

Mr Furniss, the Newcastle-based Head of Office for BNP Paribas, added: “As backers of Developing Consensus and the profession in the region, it makes good sense to support Trinity Mirror’s campaign in the North East and push the devolution debate on April 21.

“While the current system of LEPs and Combined Authorities is still fairly new, they have been engaging with the business community and listening to our views on how to drive growth.”

The Devolution Breakfast will take place on April 21 at the Marriott Hotel in Gosforth, Newcastle, from 7.30am to 9.30am.

To reserve tables or tickets for the event, log onto www.thejournal.co.uk/businessbreakfasts or contact event manager Jennifer Lee on 0191 2016168 or email jennifer.lee@trinitymirror.com.

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