The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA)  has joined a network of decision makers dedicated to fighting poverty in the wake of the corona crisis.

The Inclusive Growth Network brings together UK councils and combined authorities leading the drive for an inclusive economic recovery in an initiative hosted by the Centre of Progressive Policy, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and supported by the Royal Society of Arts (the RSA) and Metro Dynamics. With the coronavirus crisis exacerbating economic and social challenges faced, the network will act as an incubator for new ideas and policies designed to reduce inequalities, alleviate poverty and improve productivity within communities, during the Covid-19 crisis and thereafter.

As a member of the Inclusive Growth Network, the NTCA  will have access to peer-to-peer and tailored support including research and implementation advice to help address individual challenges and opportunities within communities and deliver on plans to improve the local economy. Key priorities for the North of Tyne will include major investment in offshore wind, to get the Tyne and Blyth booming with highly skilled, green jobs. It will also focus investment in skills and apprenticeships, to give all young people a foot on the ladder to a good career, and on funding an Education Challenge to support schools, teachers and pupils.

North of Tyne Cabinet member for Employability and Inclusion and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council Cllr Joyce McCarty said: “Creating a more inclusive and active economy for the North of Tyne is at the heart of our economic vision. The Covid-19 pandemic has only strengthened the need to address inequalities in our area and work towards a recovery plan that benefits all our residents. In the first 18 months, the North of Tyne Combined Authority has taken great steps forward in our pursuit of our inclusive growth ambitions, and it is important that this progress has been recognised through our involvement in the Inclusive Growth Network.

“It shows that our approach will benefit all our residents and communities which is vitally important as we emerge and recover from the pandemic. We are thrilled to support the Inclusive Growth Network in what is such an exciting and important opportunity to share best practice, learn from others and to collaborate on a national scale. The Network will only add value to our local efforts and help make the North of Tyne the home of ambition.”

Director of the Centre for Progressive Policy Charlotte Alldritt said: “Inequality in the UK has been growing for decades but the case for inclusive growth has never been stronger than it is today. The public health and economic emergency has intensified regional discrepancies, put added pressure on local government finances and public services, and exposed the weaknesses of our overly centralised policymaking processes.

“National policies are simply too blunt an instrument to tackle complex economic and social challenges alone. Our recovery needs to be guided by local leaders, who best understand the issues facing their communities, whether those are job losses, skills shortages or problems accessing health and social care.  The first of its kind, the Inclusive Growth Network will help leaders to work together, share ideas and showcase the brightest solutions to the most pressing challenges, so that everyone can contribute to and benefit from economic recovery and growth.”

Helen Barnard, Acting Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: “This year has shown us that even if we are in the same boat, not everyone is equally able to weather the economic storms we are faced with. The impacts of Covid have fallen most heavily on those who were already struggling to stay afloat, and local economies that had already fallen behind. As we look towards recovery it is essential that existing poverty does not become more entrenched and local areas can rebuild their local economy to work for everyone. Local leadership can ensure that the response is tailored effectively to the specific needs of people in different parts of the country.

“This network will support local and combined authorities to share knowledge about what works and try out new ways of strengthening their local economies. By implementing new approaches and learning from each other, leaders can prevent the worst economic effects of the pandemic from hitting those who are least able to weather the storm and remodel their local economy to boost living standards and productivity.”

NTCA is one of twelve member areas forming the Inclusive Growth Network. Other members include:
• Belfast City Council
• Bristol City Council
• Cardiff Council
• Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
• Glasgow City Council
• London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
• North Ayrshire Council
• Leeds City Council
• Greater Manchester Combined Authority
• Sheffield City Region Combined Authority
• West Midlands Combined Authority

Further information on the IGN can be found @IGN_tweets.