Hundreds of new jobs could be coming to the region if North East leaders approve a cash boost for the area's digital industries.
Up to 500 new jobs could be created if politicians on the North of Tyne Combined Authority agree to invest £10m in the North of Tyne’s digital economy at a cabinet meeting next week.
The windfall represents 17% of the budget over the next three years - the combined authority’s biggest spending commitment since it was set up in November 2018.
If approved, it would be spent between 2020-23 on investing in small and medium sized businesses, training hundreds of people in digital skills alongside the private sector and growing the digital sector with new business start-ups and business acceleration programmes.
The plans will be debated by cabinet on January 28 and come just days after the BBC director general, Lord Hall, praised Newcastle as a city “looking for fresh ideas, collaboration and innovation,” and announced a new tech centre to create the next generation of software engineers, product developers and data scientists.
Research published earlier this month revealed Newcastle is the top UK city when it comes to making use of technology assets to win business, improve systems and attract the best talent.
More than half of all digital jobs in the North East are in the North of Tyne area and the combined authority hopes to maintain the rapid progress with this latest investment.
Cabinet member for business competitiveness, Coun Nick Forbes, backs the plans.
The Newcastle City Council leader said: “This is great news. We can’t be an analogue region in a digital world if we are to compete successfully at home and abroad.
“Big data, cloud computing and 5G give us new opportunities to create jobs and grow our economy, that’s why we are looking to make this major investment now.
“Our devolution negotiations with Government were all about people. This investment underlines that by showing confidence in our communities, businesses, and their ideas we which can use to create the jobs of the future right here in our region.”
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It’s estimated the £10m funding will attract a further £25m of private sector investment. £1.5m of the £10m will be targeted at small and medium-sized businesses to help them adopt digital systems and work practices.
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll added: “We want to have decent jobs in the North of Tyne area so that people don’t have to move down to Leeds or London.
“Devolution works. We can do a better job through the North of Tyne than through Westminster.”