Do you think the North East can be a major part of the Northern Powerhouse?
There can be no true Northern Powerhouse if the North East is not equally represented alongside the North West and M62 corridor. The North East has a rich talent pool of precision engineering, service sector, technology and energy sector businesses that, if supported correctly, could act as a significant catalyst to an emergent economy in the North of England. The North East represents the highest return on investment, based on GVA per head, of any region in England and is therefore fiscally critical to the Norther Powerhouse gaining traction and a positive direction of travel.
Why do you think a Mayor will be a good thing for the North East?
The North East is best placed to make decisions around investment into skills, business, transport and infrastructure. Therefore, a directly elected mayor with a clear mandate and devolved power represents our best choice of inflecting the region's performance and fortunes. A balanced and socially conscious mayor must also ensure that we do not simply create new wealth at the top end of the social spectrum and broaden the gap between rich and poor, rather they must ensure we elevate the poorest in society and increase life chances and quality of life in the broadest possible sense.
What do you think is our biggest strength in the North East?
Determination. The North East is a proud region of people who work hard to achieve their life goals for them and their family. Our determination and resilient nature is a defining and commendable quality of which we are rightly proud.
What do you think is the biggest issue we need to tackle in the region?
I think it's a dual-issue. Economic success is critical, without the tax revenues that are derived from a buoyant and growing economy we cannot invest in the region and improve our outlook. However, the twinned issue is the requirement to ensure that we build on the economic success with social justice. We're not just trying to rebalance the economy from South to Northern England, we're also trying to redress social imbalance and improve life chances for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
Stephen Purvis' #Lifehack:
BBC or Netflix?
Who is your favourite author?
Visit Europe or the USA?
What has been your biggest challenge?
Making money and retaining a social conscience
Plane, train, bus or car?
As a former military pilot, I have to say plane.
How would your friends describe you, in one word?