Director of Invest North East England, Guy Currey, has expressed concerns about the disproportionate economic impact of COVID-19 on the region, stressing that inward investment is vital to regional recovery.
Energy is one of the North East’s fastest growing sectors. Despite adversity, the region has seen some significant developments in inward investment during 2020. Last year, the companies behind the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, Equinor and SSE Renewables, announced a new Operations and Maintenance Base in the Port of Tyne.
The North East is also set to play a pivotal role in the government’s Green Industrial Revolution, which aims to create 250,000 highly skilled jobs in renewable energy.
Additionally, 2020 saw significant developments in the advanced manufacturing and digital technology sector. Verisure UK Services Limited, Europe’s largest domestic alarm company, opened a new headquarters in Quorum Business Park, creating 1000 new jobs. Verisure is the company behind the ZeroVision Alarm, a burglar alarm capable of stopping crime by releasing a dense smoke barrier.
VRAI, a company which develops virtual reality for workplace hazard training, has also chosen to open new offices, its UK headquarters will be based in Gateshead.
High national demand for premium office space and comparatively low rental rates in the North East, make the region ideally placed to facilitate north-shoring and public sector relocations. According to the Financial Times, the average 30 person R&D facility in the North East saves £1.3 million per year compared to an equivalent operation based in London. The £55 million Getting Building Fund, inward investment and local innovation give hope that in the future, despite the devastating economic effects of COVID-19, the North East will be a hub for growth.