Offshore renewables businesses are boosting region
The North East is a region rich in sustainable industries like offshore renewables, plus advanced manufacturing and life sciences.
But new research by the CBI, supported by Lloyds Banking Group, shows its productivity ranks below the national average (seventh out of nine English regions) and is losing ground.
The research analysed the comparative economic health of England’s regions, assessing their strength in key criteria around business activity, education, employment, connectivity and social outcomes through a series of scorecards.
CBI metrics show the region ranks last for business growth, innovation and R&D spending.
The North East also rated ninth on school outcomes and the number of graduates in work.
Social assessments revealed low household incomes, high rates of unemployment and significant pockets of deprivation.
The scorecard does contain positive news for the North East, however.
Export income and the percentage of businesses investing in training both ranked second only to London, while the region boasts some of England’s best digital connectivity.
Affordable house prices also make the region readily accessible.
Sarah Glendinning, CBI North East Director, said: “The North East has issues to address to help grow productivity and prosperity, and it will take commitment and partnership from government and enterprise to drive the necessary improvement.
“However, this is a vibrant, ambitious and forward-looking region with plenty of positives to build on.
"The North East boasts real strength in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences, health and social care and offshore renewables.
"Assets such as the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the Materials Processing Institute and National Innovation Centres for Data, Ageing and Rural Enterprise exemplify regional excellence.
“These successes showcase what is possible in the North East with vision, ambition and investment.
"It is now incumbent upon leaders in business and at all levels of government to foster a culture of growth by investing in the infrastructure, people and skills this region needs.
“Effective partnership between public and private sectors will be essential to enable the North East to rebuild from the economic ravages of COVID-19, close the productivity gap, and lay the foundations for a better and more prosperous future for all.”