The Aycliffe Business Park group held their regular Breakfast Network Meeting at the Xcel Centre on Thursday 24th September. Chairperson Pamela Petty of Ebac opened the event with a special welcome to Graham Robb and Leader of Durham County Council, Simon Henig, Chairman of the North East Combined Authority. who were there to update members on the North East Devolution.
Before that Vice Chairperson  Kerina Clarke talked about proposals to formalise the group by creating a limited company. She also announced the Business Park Awards Night to be held at the Xcel Centre on the 26th November encouraging businesses to be nominated for recognition of their achievements.
The 8th Annual Oktoberfest was brought to the attention of the meeting and the fact there were still a few vacant stalls.
The Future Magnate School Competition was explained in the hope that more Aycliffe businesses, however small, could get involved, helping schoolchildren to become more prepared for the workplace.
Our MP Phil Wilson was in attendance and was given the opportunity to promote his survey on the UK’s membership of the EU. He requested everyone complete the on-line survey to enable him to convey the views of businesses in his constituency as part of the Parliamentary debate.
A vote of thanks was given to John Finley who retired from the Steering Group due to pressure of work. His success in the environmental improvement of the park was applauded.
Graham Robb Chairman of Institute of Directors NE gave his views on devolution to the north east and his backing of the Government’s wish for an elected Mayor as a pre-requisite.
Simon Henig agreed we must work together non-politically to progress devolution of power and funding. He said there were three priorities: skill funding, the Economy and Transport which needed to be controlled by the Northern Powerhouse which must include the North East.
The question was asked why we needed an Elected Mayor and why couldn’t we have devolved power to the Authorities we have in place?
Graham was convinced a Mayor would streamline everything and be cheaper than the way  local government operates. Simon was prepared to accept a Mayor if it meant a redistribution of power and cash and not more cuts in Government  money.
Graham concluded by saying the omens and potential were good for the north east and devolution was a prize to be won from the Tory’s Election winning manifesto. He also said it was important we received more cash for the arts, funding of which heavily favoured London.

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