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Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

Business Minister visits North East to talk Industrial Strategy

Business Minister Margot James met employers, community groups and small business owners from across the North East yesterday to discuss the government’s Industrial Strategy.

As part of the ministerial country-wide engagement tour, James hosted a roundtable event at Stockton Council to find out directly from business how the Industrial Strategy can support diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

In its green paper, ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’, the government outlines 10 key pillars of focus to be discussed as part of a 12-week consultation, inviting contributions from industry, businesses, community groups and workers across the North East and the rest of the UK.

Business Minister Margot James said: “Diversity and inclusion are key to the UK economy maximising its potential.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy and investment in the Northern Powerhouse, we are building an economy that works for everyone and I enjoyed talking to employers in the North East about how we can work together to build on the regions strengths, raise living standards and create new, well-paid jobs in other industries and sectors.”

Editor’s analysis

It’s refreshing to see the government venture to the region, to not only look at ways to include the North East in Industrial Strategy plans but to actually explain its policies and practices to businesses and employers.

The region has been very much marginalised in the government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda, with the North East failing to gain a true identity in the discourse.

Yesterday’s meeting, whilst part of the Minister’s plans to visit numerous Northern cities, is a positive in the sense that chief decision making bodies are looking to understand the region’s challenges and opportunities.

The North East needs more of this. All too often are Northern inward investment conferences held in Greater Manchester or Yorkshire for instance, whilst the region remains on the periphery.

For the region to be taken seriously in gaining a greater voice and making itself heard, businesses may well be wise to look at ways and means of engaging.

The government has issued an open invitation to all industries, businesses, workers and local groups in the North East to visit the GOV.UK website and help set the priorities for an Industrial Strategy.

The consultation is open until 17 April, after which the government will consider responses before publishing a white paper later in the year.

‘Shy bairns get nowt’, right? Take the opportunity to make your voice heard, you might find others are saying the same thing as you. Collective voice has the power to increase profile, to bring about change and ultimately, to make the North East a better place to live and work.

What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.

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