The North East must start winning the battle of ideas

By Stephen Purvis, Chairman, Policy North

It makes me immensely proud to be Chairman of Policy North, the first thinktank dedicated exclusively to the issues which affect the North East.

Given that, it may seem strange that today I have chosen to write not about Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead or Durham. Instead my topic of choice is London.

London accounts for more than 20% of GDP, despite being home to only 12% of the UK population. According to an often cited statistic, London makes a net contribution to the UK coffers of an incredible £34bn.

To so many, the North East still seems a world away from the economic monolith our capital city has become. The North East is a fantastic region. Our universities are growing, we are home to iconic cultural events, and our quality of life is increasingly a world away from the stereotypes of old.

The North East recently marked the fastest-growing rate of economic activity. Here in the North people are joining the jobs market at one the fastest rates in the country.

Hitachi and Nissan have all made huge bets on us here in the North East.

Yet still the immense dominance of London continues. Many suggest this is purely due to London’s immense prosperity which fuels it’s ever increasingly cycle of growth.

There are however other key ingredients to London’s recipe for success that are so often over looked. Too often the North East’s leaders focus purely on money, and ignore the power of innovation and ideas.

Indeed, one of the reasons London so often wins the race is that it writes the rules of the game. It is time for the North East to have its voice heard.

As the North East takes its place in the economic Northern Powerhouse, it is also now time for the North East to be heard in the battle of ideas.

As a region must no longer accept the London centric policy making which has dominated for so London. We must no longer settle for what we are given.  Our great Northern cities have the ability to be bigger and better. Our region has the ability to deliver the jobs and prosperity we deserve.

But we will only succeed if we start to win the battle of ideas and influence.

Policy North aims to do just that. We are determined to put the North East’s voice at the heart of policy making in the UK - regardless of party politics.

Our aim is to ensure our region’s brightest and best have significant influence on public debate and policy which effects our great region.

That is our great challenge here at Policy North.

If you would like to hear more about our work, follow us on twitter here: @PolicyNorthUK