Businesses and communities will “bounce back” from Covid-19 given leadership and support, the leader of South Tyneside Council said.

Cllr Iain Malcolm, who is chair of the North East Combined Authority, said “nowhere would be left behind” in the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. He spoke as a staged economic recovery plan prepared by the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group was announced, pulling together approaches from business and community leaders, Universities, public transport and public health.

Cllr Malcolm said: “The North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group is very aware that the impact of Coronavirus is different across cities, high streets, market towns and rural communities. As such, this recovery plan is designed to focus on our places and ensure that nowhere is left behind. This includes providing strong leadership right across our geographical patch, ensuring access to grants and other funding, mobilising health and social care, and engaging properly with all residents and business owners. We want people to be confident that their health, happiness and livelihoods are at the very centre of all this work.”

The North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group plan has secured region-wide support as leaders look to introduce measures that build confidence, stabilise the economy and help our businesses, sectors and places adapt to the ‘new normal’. The Group, which comprises the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), North East and North of Tyne Combined Authorities, the CBI on behalf of business, North East Joint Transport Committee and regional universities, has joined forces to plot the economic recovery of the region. The plan , which incudes key messages for government, was agreed at the meeting of the North East LEP Board with strong support from business, political and education leaders.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “We’ve been hit hard by this crisis.  Our key workers have done us proud, and our communities have stepped up.  We need to act now to build a future that’s prosperous. We need jobs.  Good jobs with good wages. That means getting investment in offshore wind, a low-carbon transport system and affordable housing.  It means giving our youngsters the training they need.

“It means looking after the key-workers who’ve seen us through this crisis.  It means revitalising our high streets, supporting our established businesses, and nurturing new ones.  We’ve got everyone pulling together on this – businesses, councils, transport, health and education. That’s exactly the team we need to make our region prosper.”

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