County cannot rely solely on public sector

With less than a week to go before Chancellor George Osborne’s Spending Review, the push continues to recognise the potential of the region.

Supported by newspapers across the North East, the NEvolution campaign calls for greater devolution of powers and the redirection of funding into the region ahead of the Review on Wednesday.

While transport – and the dualling of the A1 – is important for opening up the county to investment, as reported last week, funding to boost jobs creation and growth is also vital.

Northumberland has a high proportion of public-sector jobs, with the county council and the NHS among the biggest employers, and coupled with the loss of businesses such as Rio Tinto Alcan, attracting the private sector is key.

Arch – The Northumberland Development Company, set up by the county council, works to do just this, with a particular focus on key industry sectors.

The county already has a significant number of companies working in healthcare and life sciences, engineering, energy, manufacturing and food and drink, so funding can help to develop these sectors.

Last week’s employment figures show that the number of unemployed people in the Berwick constituency has dropped, but efforts are needed in rural north Northumberland.