Leaders of the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA)  set out their vision for growing a more fair and inclusive economy.

They announced the launch of the NTCA Inclusive Economy Innovation Fund (IEIF), which aims to support people to get back into work and training across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. It will target specifically those people excluded from work or trapped in low paid work as a consequence of lack of qualifications or long term health problems, and there will be a range of measures introduced to achieve this.

It will build on good work being done already in the region by promoting the soon-to-be-launched NTCA Good Work Pledge, which is a series of commitments businesses can make to support their staff. The ambition is that by attracting further investment from the public and private sector, the IEIF will proceed to generate a total fund of up to £30 million to be invested across the North of Tyne between now and 2024. This will contribute to the wider NTCA programme to drive economic growth, creating 10,000 jobs and boosting the local economy by £1.1 billion.

The IEIF was unveiled at the meeting of the North of Tyne Cabinet, on Tuesday 22 October. NTCA Cabinet Member for Employability and Inclusion Cllr Joyce McCarty said the Combined Authority hoped to be able to begin making investments soon.

She said: “This will focus and prioritise investment on those residents who need it most. “The fund we are setting up will help us tackle inequality and create opportunity for all. We want to target our resources where they can make a real difference to people’s lives as part of our commitment to creating an economy that delivers for everyone and leaves nobody behind.”

The IEIF will be supported by an Inclusive Economy Board, which will advise the NTCA leadership. Its purpose will be to find radical new ways to target those who most stand to benefit from the IEIF. The IEIF sets out measures to address the fact that our communities are disproportionately affected by in-work poverty, long-term sickness and unemployment. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation 60% of those living in poverty in the UK are found in working households.

Moreover, according to the Social Mobility Commission, only one in six low paid employees in 2006 made a sustained move onto higher wages 10 years later. So it is vital that any inclusive growth intervention also targets low earning working individuals and their progression opportunities. The Combined Authority has secured £20m a year for the next 30 years through its devolution deal to support and invest in the region. The IEIF is an allocation of this fund set aside to specifically support those residents who need additional support to enter and progress in work. Over the next 30 years it has ambitious plans to create 10,000 jobs and boost the local economy by £1.1 billion.