North East puts digital skills at top of devolution agenda

DataIQ News

The Government is ramping up its commitment to tackling the digital skills crisis in the regions after approving what it calls an "unprecedented" transfer of power from Westminster to the North East.

As part of the North of Tyne deal, which includes the three regional authorities of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland,  the Government has pledged £600 million of funding - with £20 million payments each year for 30 years - earmarked for driving investment in digital skills, science and rural growth. A recent survey carried out by the North East Chamber of Commerce showed that 75% of businesses in the region are suffering from a shortage of digital skills.

It will also see the creation of a new North of Tyne Combined Authority and a new Inclusive Growth Board to improve skills and employment reforms across the area.

The deal is also expected to generate £1.1 billion for the local economy, create 10,000 new jobs, and drive over £2.1 billion in private sector investment.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP said: "This deal represents over £600 million of investment into the North of Tyne and a landmark moment for devolution in the Northern Powerhouse with a new, directly elected mayor who will be a strong champion for the region.

"The North of Tyne devolution deal is further proof that we’re witnessing a new golden era for the North East as the combined authority uses this unprecedented investment to improve public services, create new jobs and new economic opportunities.

"We’re transferring funding and decision making away from Westminster and placing them directly into the hands of local people, allowing them to have a real say over their future."