The North East needs economic devolution in order to succeed and work with Scotland, says leading entrepreneur

Jeremy Middleton believes economic devolution is critical for the future of the region, regardless of the result of the Scottish independence vote

Businessman Jeremy Middleton
Businessman Jeremy Middleton

Economic devolution is critical for the future of the North East, according to one of the region’s leading entrepreneurs.

The North East must be on a “level playing field” with the other regions in the UK if it is to succeed economically - especially a more devolved Scotland.

Local businessman Jeremy Middleton, who co-founded top 250 FTSE company HomeServe, told The Journal that devolution of economic powers from London are crucial for jobs and trade in the region.

He said that the vote on Scottish independence was a game-changer for the North East - regardless of which way the poll goes - because of the added economic power Scotland will be given.

The entrepreneur claimed that economic devolution was far more important than an increase in political powers in the North East.

“We ought to get the same economic devolvement of power because it wouldn’t be fair otherwise,” he said.

“If it’s a No vote, London’s money will be going to Scotland, which means Scotland will then compete against the North East - a poorer area than Scotland.

“That’s economic madness and that’s not fair.

“If it’s a Yes vote we need devolvement even more so. It’s all the same arguments.”

The businessman said Scotland is already wealthier than the North East and could take jobs and trade away from the region.

He said: “I would like the UK government to come up with a series of policies that will build connectivity with Scotland.

“We need the right railways and motorways to Scotland that will drive economic growth outside London.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer