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North East Combined Authority : Strategic Evidence Base

The key evidence on economy, people and place in the North East


On the 7th May 2024 the North East Combined Authority came into being, led by the North East Mayor and Cabinet and marking a significant moment of regional governance and investment.

This evidence base builds on the substantial regional intelligence collated over the past decade and articulates the economic context at the time of this transition. It brings together a range of sources covering topics from economic geography and labour market, to health and transport, aligning with the key ambitions contained within the North East Devolution Deal.  

The evidence base has been used to frame discussions with stakeholders around the region including universities and colleges, businesses, the voluntary and community sector, and institutional investors. The evidence has also been reviewed by experts from outside the region, and informed the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacturing (RSA) in their recommendations in shaping regional investment priorities.

You can find out more about North East devolution on the North East Combined Authority website.

Context : Our region

The North East Combined Authority will be the second largest MCA by area and covers a diverse geography including three cities, many vibrant towns and extensive rural and coastal communities.

The new authority will also cover an extensive range of assets including:​

  • Four universities, with the region a net importer of students, and nine FE colleges​
  • Strong representation from catapult network – including Offshore Renewable Energy, Digital Catapult NE&TV, NE Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, High Value Manufacturing Catapult​
  • International airport ​
  • Deep-water ports and riverside assets and infrastructure ​
  • Strategic transport connections including the East Coast mainline, rail links to Carlisle and Teesside; trunk roads including A1, A19 and A69; and Tyne and Wear Metro​

The North East in numbers

2 million

Population of the North East

£54 billion

An economy worth


A business population of


Jobs in the North East


Median gross annual salary


Residents who are out of work and want a job


Annual C02 emissions since 2005

48.8 million

Visitors per year

Economic opportunities

There are a number of significant economic opportunities identified in the devolution deal including:​

  • A large, advanced manufacturing sector centred around Nissan;​
  • An increasingly important low-carbon economy, including offshore wind technologies, electrification/batteries and onshore wind and geothermal;​
  • A thriving tech sector - including Sage, Atom Bank, consultancy, games etc – and growing opportunities around screen industries;​
  • A major leisure and tourism sector - including urban and rural assets, two World Heritage Sites, a National Park and the Gateshead Quays development;​
  • A professional services sector which is a large employer;​
  • Internationally-recognised healthcare and education assets;​
  • A national hub for public services, including significant HMRC and DWP assets;​
  • Large rural and coastal economy, ranging from upland hill farming to niche fishing industries.

Spotlight pages

The following spotlight pages dive more closely into the Economy, People and Places of the North East.


Read about what the core economic data tells us about the North East, including GDP, productivity and international trade


Read about the data on people in the North East, including population, labour market and health


Read about the data on the geography of the North East, including the distribution of housing and infrastructure