THE Sunderland Echo today calls on Chancellor George Osborne to provide greater support to boost the North East economy.
The NEvolution campaign sees the Echo joining forces with newspapers, councils and business leaders to make the case for the region ahead of the Government’s Spending Review.
The campaign, created by North-East editors, is designed to send a clear message to the Chancellor that – with the right support – North East England is geared up to grow.
NEvolution is calling on Mr Osborne to devolve budgets and powers to local authorities and the region’s two Local Enterprise Partnerships, as part of his Spending Review on June 26.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson, chairman of the Association of North East Councils, said: “The NEvolution campaign is a unique and ground-breaking approach that celebrates the great things we have achieved across the whole of the North East, and makes the case for this area of the country to the Government.
“We are a capable, constructive collection of people in this part of the world.
“We know our strengths, we know the areas in which we need extra support, and, with the help of Government, we believe that we can make things even better, and grow our economies and the UK economy.
“We believe that if we are given the power and financial wherewithal, we can make this area of the country even more prosperous.
“And this is the spirit of NEvolution – a collaborative, positive and progressive campaign that calls for support to allow us to realise the huge potential that exists here.”
NEvolution is urging the Government to accept the recommendations contained in Lord Heseltine’s report No Stone Unturned, published in October, that called for the decentralisation of economic power and a package of investment in the regions.
Coun Watson said: “The Government has demonstrated that it accepts in full, or in part, 81 of Lord Heseltine’s 89 recommendations.
“We believe now is the time to make real change, back the North East and let us take control of our own destinies.”
Colin Tapping, chairman of the Society of Editors Northern Region, said: “Newspapers across the region have put aside their rivalries to support a compelling case to the Chancellor on behalf of their communities.
“The whole of the North East stands four-square behind implementation of the Heseltine Report to deliver investment programmes to the region.”
He added: “Our communities have an outstanding track record in transforming investment into real economic growth.”