Simon Hanson is North East Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses, Britain’s largest and most successful business representation group.
Here he shares his hopes and aspirations for the North of Tyne devolution deal.
What are businesses saying about the devolution deal for North of Tyne?
Businesses across the North East are hugely supportive of the devolution deal for the North of Tyne area to help us continue our economic growth. Having seen other areas hugely benefit from agreeing deals, small businesses want to see the North of Tyne be able to make long-term investments and gain more control over areas like housing, transport and skills.
How do you think companies in our region will benefit from having a local government with greater power and resources?
Agreeing a devolution deal for the North of Tyne will help us take the decisions and make the investments needed to continue our economic growth. Having greater control over areas like skills will ensure that the needs of businesses are acted on in a more flexible and agile way.
Why is it important to have decisions taken locally for our regional economy?
Despite many challenges we’ve seen the North East economy continue to grow and flourish. Being able to take decisions locally will help us continue this growth. Small businesses would rather see decisions being taken in the North East than in Westminster and Whitehall. The North of Tyne devolution deal is a first step and we hope to see future deals build on this.
What do you feel this deal will do for the profile of our region on a national stage?
Getting the needs of the North East heard nationally will be immeasurably helped by agreeing this devolution deal. There are some big challenges that the region faces and having a seat at the national table will help us tackle them.
We’ve seen other areas hugely raise their own profile nationally and internationally after agreeing devolution deals. The North of Tyne area can capitalise on this and help the regional economy to flourish.
How will the deal help SMEs or start-ups to grow their business and create new jobs?
The North East is the best place in the UK to set up and grow a business. Having more control over important areas like skills, transport and business investment will ensure that we can become even better. By raising the profile of the area and increasing the amount of inward investment we can achieve will also help smaller businesses to grow and attract investment.
What will be the impact for the North East economy as a whole?
Agreeing this devolution deal will help the North East deliver the ambitions of the region’s strategic economic plan to increase the region’s productivity and see the creation of more and better jobs. These benefits will be seen right across the region and not just limited to the North of Tyne area.
What role is your organisation likely to play under a new North of Tyne combined authority?
The FSB will continue to lobby on behalf of small businesses across the North of Tyne area to ensure that their needs are acted on