The Recovery Innovation Deal, which was signed off at the combined authority’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, November 24, will be ‘for innovations that will make a difference now, and that will leave a legacy that lasts beyond the immediate crisis’.
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “This is going to make a difference to people’s lives, it really is.”
The report to the meeting noted that the combined authority – which covers Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle – does ‘not have the scale of resources needed to bridge the gap for all businesses, but we can help to prepare for recovery and renewal through supporting innovation and post-Covid-19 business models that can out-last the crisis.
‘This will be particularly important as our economies seek to recover from the November national lockdown.’
This is in light of the cabinet ‘noting the urgency of post-Covid-19 adaptation for our places and businesses; particularly those for whom marginal investment in new ways of working could make the difference to staying viable, keeping jobs, and using the crisis as a way to build and renew’.
Practical examples of how this funding could be used include helping businesses adapt to digital ways of working; creating new, Covid-19-secure spaces; and supporting the development of stronger local supply chains.
The report adds: ‘This could be about a restaurant shifting to using online platforms; a small business investing in the means to keep its staff working remotely; or a social enterprise developing new lines of business that will support post-Covid-19 growth.’
Mayor Driscoll said: “Jobs and good jobs make a massive difference, they are the foundation of any economy, not just a modern or industrialised economy.
“But when those jobs are in local businesses, you get the double benefit that local businesses spend in the local community, they invariably have stronger local supply chains and they spend their money back in the local economy.
“That’s really got to be the future for us, to have a very deep ecosystem of local businesses.”