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North East MP works closely with Northumbria academics to challenge investment plans to level up the region

4th July 2022

Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School held an event in collaboration with the Right Honourable Kevan Jones, to discuss the MP for North Durham’s recent report entitled: Government spending in the North East of England since 2010.

Research support from Joyce Liddle, Professor of Public Leadership and Enterprise and John Shutt, Professor of Public Policy and Management – both of the University’s Newcastle Business School, has helped to inform Labour MP Kevan Jones’ recently published report, which he presented at the event on Friday 1 July. The report looks at regional spending and provides a detailed case study of County Durham and the North East.

Among the compiled findings, the report revealed that the North East has received the smallest increase in identifiable public spending since 2008/09, compared to other regions.

MP and Northumbria alumnus Kevan Jones said: “My analysis shows that successive governments since 2010 have made disproportionate reductions in the funding allocated to County Durham and the rest of the North East compared to the rest of the UK. This impacts the spending power of local Councils, and also affects services like health and transport which are vital to the people of the region. 

“I am pleased to be visiting Newcastle Business School to present these findings, and discuss their implications with academic experts, and other stakeholders from across the North East.”

An engaging question and answer session on local and regional development took place after the presentation, with the event attracting attendance from high profile figures across the city region.

Highlighting the need for better parliamentary focus on the North East and Levelling Up investment, Professor Liddle said: “There is a need for a debate in the region about future investment plans related to the new funds for regeneration and levelling up and replacing European funds with UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Allocated funding, competitive bidding, special deals and procurement all need re-examining going forward. The new Insights North East initiative will focus on these issues in the period ahead.” Caption: Professor Joyce Liddle, Rt Honourable Kevan Jones MP and Professor John Shutt

Professor Shutt added: “Current plans for devolution are still uncertain and are holding back new investment. Stronger integration is required between programmes and future plans.”

Professors Liddle and Shutt, in collaboration with Dr Gareth Addidle from Bradford University, were recently commissioned to edit a special edition of the influential peer-reviewed Local Economy journal on the Levelling Up policy. Levelling Up theUnited Kingdom? A useful mantra but too little substance or delivery? was published in May this year.

The Northumbria academics have already led roundtable discussions at the House of Commons on the future of the Northern Powerhouse and edited books on The North East After Brexit: Impact and Policy. Professors Liddle and Shutt also recently won a Best Paper prize in the prestigious Regional Studies Journal Policy Debates on transborder relational leadership after Brexit.

Newcastle Business School actively engages with the local community and makes a meaningful contribution to the regional economy. Through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, academic and professional expertise can be provided to help organisations improve profitability and efficiency. Find out more at

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