Read about our route map for 2021 which covers managing the new tier frameworks and how the County will recover socially and economically.

This page was last updated on 10 February at 10am

This web page is our route-map for working on how the County will recover socially and economically in the coming months. The route-map:

  • Makes sense of the latest health data on Covid- giving you the key facts about rates of infection as well as groups and parts of the County most impacted;
  • Tells you about the impact on businesses and jobs;
  • Makes clear what services and support you can expect from your Council during the lockdown period and beyond; and,
  • Outlines a five-point package of public health measures to tackle Covid infection as well as a five-point plan for economic recovery.  

Since March, the Covid pandemic has had profound impacts on individuals, families, communities and businesses in every part of Northumberland.  We share the frustration of residents and businesses as restrictions have once again had to be ratcheted up in response to the spread of the virus and now we are in a third National Lockdown.  Our priority is to work with Government, residents, partners and businesses to ensure we emerge from this National Lockdown with Covid infection rates under control and reducing, our vaccination programme on track and in a position to lead economic recovery. 

This has undoubtedly been a year like no other and, we recognise there is real uncertainty around what happens in the coming months.  Despite this uncertainty, we are clear, that as your Council, we will continue to respond to the Covid crisis, delivering the services you need every day, supporting and protecting the people who need help and, doing all we can to help businesses survive, recover and thrive once again.

Unlike traditional council and government plans, this route-map will not be static or long-term.  The fast-changing nature of Covid and its impacts demands a different approach.  Instead, we will produce regular updates of this document and share these with you so you can see the latest picture and how we are adapting our response to changing circumstances. 

What won’t change is our commitment to being here for all our communities throughout this most challenging period and beyond.
 
Cllr Glen Sanderson                                                                       Daljit Lally
Leader of Council                                                                           Chief Executive

Split into four sections these are a summary of our challenges and what our opportunities are.

Economic challenges
  • Impact on tourism and hospitality
  • UK economy shrinking
  • Increased unemployment
  • Lower wage growth
Opportunities
  • Leading green recovery
  • Ambitious programme of investment and growth
  • Pre-Covid strengths in key sectors (pharma, advanced manufacturing, energy, agri-food, tourism)
Social challenges
  • Disproportionate impact on young people – jobs, skills, HE &FE
  • Potentially widening inequalities
  • Impact on community activity / events
Opportunities
  • ‘Communities Together’ model
  • Strong community response during Covid
  • People wanting to do more in their own communities
Health challenges
  • New strains of the virus
  • Impact on other health conditions
  • Growing health inequalities
  • Rising obesity, alcohol-related conditions
  • Impact on mental health
Opportunities
  • Roll-out of vaccine
  • Renewed focus on health in all policies
  • Strong support for healthier lifestyles
Organisational challenges
  • Budget pressures – increased costs of Covid response & recovery coupled with falling income
  • Increased pressure on critical areas – e.g. Public Protection
  • New challenges EU trade agreement implementation
Opportunities
  • Strong support for staff
  • Successful rollout of new ways of working
  • Programme of service innovation
Looking at the data of where Northumberland is currently using regional comparison.

This page was last updated on 8 February at 2pm

In the fifth week of the national lockdown we can see that the data for the LA7 authorities is showing signs of our efforts taking effect as evidenced by the dark blue line representing the 7-day moving average of confirmed cases. 

Key Data: Regional Comparison  
Graphs showing new Covid cases by day in each North East area between the dates of 1 July to 2 January
Graph showing the number of new Covid cases in Northumberland between 1 July to 2 January

Northumberland has followed a similar trajectory along with the other 6 local authorities that make up the LA7. All local authorities showed a marked increase in cases from September, peaking in the second week of November, and reducing rapidly in the weeks afterwards. In early December, there was a marked shift of infections from the more urban and densely populated areas of the South-East of Northumberland, to the West of the County. This is a stark reminder that this virus respects no boundaries and that whilst rural areas have historically seen lower case rates, there is no room for complacency.  This has now largely resolved.

Recent data shows that although Northumberland had a slight increase in mid-January, the cases are back onto a downward trend. This of course, is not a given and it requires a continued concerted effort from each and every one of us to help drive cases down.

Graph showing the 7 day average of cases in Northumberland by age bands

The 7-day average of cases by age bands shows the under 25s carrying a higher proportion of infections with a marked increase at the beginning of September and after half term. The reduction from the November peak was encouraging, however, over the Christmas period, prior to the tier 4 restrictions and national lockdown we saw an overall increase in cases across all age bands. This increase was likely due to household mixing and increasing social mobility over the Christmas period.  We have also seen an increasing proportion of cases being identified as likely new B.1.1.7 strain which emerged in Kent and the South East. Recent age band data confirms that younger age groups are still carrying the highest proportion of cases, however, a universal downward trend of cases is evidenced by the graph although cases have started to fluctuate over the most recent week. 

It is hard to say with certainty what will happen in the coming days and weeks due to the volatile nature of the situation, but with the lockdown in place and the vaccination programme underway, case rates will hopefully continue to fall. The latest figures can be found here on the Northumberland County Council website where the dashboard is updated daily.
 
From January 4, England moved into a third National Lockdown (STAY AT HOME).  The aims of this are to reduce the increasing rate of infection and contain the growing pressure on Health Services.  We do not know how long the current restrictions will last and is likely to depend partly on the successful rollout of the vaccination programme as well as infection rates and pressure on Health Services. 

Poster showing what you can and can't do during stay at home regulations

In summary, STAY AT HOME means:
  • You must not leave,or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
    • Shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
    • Go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
    • Exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, & you should not travel outside your local area.
    • Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
    • Seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
    • Attend education or childcare - for those eligible
  • If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
  • If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.
For the most up-to-date, detailed Government guidance, including exemptions, click here.
A low down of what the Council is doing to support the County

This page was last updated on 10 February at 10am

List of services the Council offers

Click on a service below to learn more about how that service is operating.

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services during the lockdown period by clicking here
 

Most of our key local services such as bin collection, bulky waste and Household Waste Recycling sites (tips) continue as normal during this National Lockdown although there is separate guidance on washing hands before and after touching bins as well as what to do with bins if someone in your household has Covid.  We must also stress that any trips to the HWRC should be deemed 'essential', as per Government guidance. 

In line with Government Guidance, country parks and car parks remain open although Government guidance also states that where people leave their home for any permitted activities, they should remain in their towns, villages or part of their city.   
Northumberland Communities Together
We have continued with our Communities Together Team that was established at the outset of the first national lockdown. The Hub has maintained its arrangements with all community groups and across the county since March.

Working in partnership with community and voluntary groups, Communities Together has developed effective ways of working to support systems for food, essentials, hardship, loneliness and employment support. That working continues as we move into this Third National Lockdown. 

Customer Service staff within Northumberland County Councils Customer Service Contact Centre continue to deal with customer contacts made via telephone to the Northumberland Community Together telephone number 620015 and also process email contacts both from customers and the wider organisation sent to nct@northumberland.gov.uk. The telephone lines continue to be operational 7 days per week from 9am- 6pm. With any emergency enquiries received outside of these times directed to Onecall.
 
Children and families
Children’s Social Work services ae continuing as usual during the lockdown. Risk assessments and lone working processes have been updated and we are undertaking face to face visits in the vast majority of cases.  Adoption introductions will continue as well as family time contact where this is safe to do so.

Children who have social workers or early help workers are being encouraged and facilitated to attend school.

Adult Social Care
Our priority remains to prevent the spread of the infection and to help reduce the number of deaths in our Care Homes, as of course any one death is a tragedy for families. 

Government’s recent updated national guidance for visiting in care homes is:
  • Each care home (the registered manager) is responsible for setting the visiting policy in that home. They should do so on the basis of a dynamic risk assessment taking into consideration the needs of individuals within their home and with regard to the advice of the local Director of Public Health (DPH).
  • All care homes, except in the event of an active outbreak, should seek to enable:
    • outdoor visiting and ‘screened’ visits; and,
    • visits in exceptional circumstances including end of life should always be enabled.
In all cases it is essential that visiting happens within a wider care home environment of robust Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, including ensuring that visitors follow (and are supported to follow) good practice with social distancing, hand hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use.

In the event of an outbreak in a care home, the home should immediately stop visiting (except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life) to protect vulnerable residents, staff and visitors. 

The following links to the latest Government guidance on care home visits
Registration and Coroners
Weddings and Civil Partnerships are not permitted under the current restrictions unless classified as an ‘Exceptional Circumstance’ by the RG e.g. imminent end of life. Death registration remains telephone appointment based. Birth registration and Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership remain in person, by appointment. The Coroner Service continues to operate, with as many cases dealt with remotely as possible.

Archives
The Archive Service is now closed for physical access. The Service will be contactable via telephone Monday to Friday on 01670 624358 or by email at archives@northumberland.gov.uk. The Archive Service will continue with their digital outreach work.
 
Leisure Centres
All Leisure and Sports Facilities (including gyms) remain closed in line with restrictions.
 
Museums Northumberland
All sites are closed to the public with a digital programme in place.
 
Libraries
Select & Collect initially from Blyth, Cramlington, Hexham, Morpeth, Berwick and Ashington has now commenced.  Amble is now also offering Select and collect as Alnwick remains closed due to flood damage. 

Working to offer Select and Collect from Rothbury, Haltwhistle and Wooler subject to staff availability.  Mobile libraries - combination of Select and Collect from door of vehicle and staff continuing doorstep deliveries in association with NCT Support Planners.

From 2nd February, the Library Service is offering free printing of home-schooling materials to parents / carers with an initial focus on those most in need.  Our ‘Befriending Calls and Digital Helpline’ continue.
Throughout the Covid pandemic, our Public Protection Team, including Trading Standards, have very much been on the frontline of providing support, advice, to businesses, helping with compliance and only where necessary taking enforcement action.

During this National Lockdown, that essential work will continue. Services have adapted towards providing more advice and support to businesses. 

Through adaptations like ‘click & collect’, businesses are more prepared for this Lockdown but, we are ready to work with them on new approaches to trading, helping to interpret the new regulations and providing advice where needed. 

Alongside the vital work of Public Protection, supporting businesses, jobs and livelihoods remains a huge priority for the Council. The current economic data shows a challenging picture.  

Key data: unemployment   
Graph showing Claimants as a proportion of residents aged 16-64

In December there were 11,000 people claiming unemployment benefits in Northumberland. This is an increase from November, and overall represents a growth of 63% since March 2020. 

Just under 6% of the population aged 16-64 in Northumberland were claiming unemployment benefits in December. However, the number of unemployment claimants as a proportion of residents aged 16-64 in Northumberland remains lower than that in England, the North East LEP and North of Tyne Combined Authority regions.
 
Key data: business confidence
Of the businesses responding to the 21 wave of the national government survey during the period 14 December to 27 December: 
  • 68% of businesses were trading and had been trading for more than 2 weeks, 3% had started trading again within the last 2 weeks, 9% had paused trading but intended to restart in the next 2 weeks, 18% had paused trading and did not intend to start in the next 2 weeks and 2% had permanently ceased trading. 
  • 78% of businesses in the accommodation and food service industry were temporarily closed due to lockdown regulations. 
  • 87% of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry were temporarily closed or had paused trading. 
  • Of businesses currently trading, 41.5% experienced a decrease in profits compared to what is normally expected at this time of the year. 
  • 4.3% of businesses have no cash reserves, 27.8% had less than three months, 16% had between four and six months, 35% have more than 6 months and 17% were not sure. 
  • The accommodation and food services industry had the highest percentage of businesses with no cash reserves, at 8.8%. 
  • 32% of trading businesses had more staff working remotely because of the Covid pandemic 
  • 14% of the workforce were furloughed (full or partial) 
 
Key data: vacancies
Bar graph showing Top ten areas with job postings in Northumberland July-December 2020


There were 6,303 job postings in Northumberland for the period July- December 2020. This is 14% more than the same period in 2019. 

In December the unemployment to vacancy ratio was 11.0, in December last year this was 7.6. 

Cramlington had the highest number of job postings between July and December (995); for the same period in 2019, Cramlington had 892 postings. 
 
Support to businesses and employees
As we moved into the third National Lockdown, Government has announced a further package of support to businesses. As before, the Council has a key role in getting these grants out to businesses. The Council acted swiftly to establish an effective grants process during the Lockdown periods To find out more about available support to businesses, eligibility and how to apply, click here.   
All primary, first, middle, secondary, high schools and colleges have now moved to remote learning, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. While children are still very unlikely to be severely affected by COVID-19, Government recognises that schools must be included in the restrictions in order to have the best chance of getting the virus under control as schools can act as vectors of transmission, causing the virus to spread between households when rates are high. Schools are providing remote education for those learning at home.

Early years settings such as nurseries, alternative provision and special schools remain open and vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities.
So far, managers and teams have embraced new ways to keep in touch and managers and colleagues continue to support each other, particularly for colleagues who may be more isolated. The Council has a wide-ranging staff support package in place and actively engages with staff about their welfare through a range of staff networks.  Staff are only asked to come into the workplace where this is absolutely essential and there are no alternatives to working from home. All additional measures to ensure our offices and sites are Covid safe and secure are in place. 

We continue to provide a range of advice, support and training packages to ensure colleagues are well equipped to work remotely and undertake a range of different duties to assist in critical services. The emphasis on developing a range of measures to support the health and wellbeing of our staff working remotely will be maintained.
Engaging with our residents, businesses and partners and communicating important messages to them is a core part of our response to Covid. Our Communications Team continue to emphasise and amplify national messaging on Covid and what that means for Northumberland including:
  • What people can and cannot to help fight Covid during the lockdown period;
  • What financial and other support is available for residents; and,
  • What support is available for businesses - Covid-19 safe advice, Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant, business grants, and via Northumberland Business Hub.
We use all available and accessible communication channels to reach every part of our community.
Information about our route map to recovery. Learn about our five point 'public health package'.

This page was last updated on 10 February at 10am

Our five-point ‘public health package’

Prior to this third National Lockdown (STAY AT HOME) announced on 4 January, Northumberland had just moved into tier 4 (STAY AT HOME). Our clear focus is to do all we can to make the National Lockdown work and then to transition as soon as possible back down through the tiers. Decisions on moving through the tiers will be based on case detection rates in all age groups; case detection rates in the over 60s; the rate at which cases are rising or falling; positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken); and pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy. 

Our plan to achieve this was originally focused on a five-point health package, developed with our LA7 partners and comprised of:

  1. A localised, regionally coordinated Test, Trace and Isolate programme;
  2. Behavioural Insights programme to support people to do the right thing;
  3. Roll-out of targeted frequent, rapid, ‘Lateral Flow’ testing;
  4. Protection of vulnerable individuals in the community;
  5. Preparation for rapid implementation of a vaccine programme.

We have had ongoing discussions with the DHSC to develop a NE regional model. If this does progress, the proposal is that it will involve local teams comprised of existing NHS Test & Trace staff based primarily with councils, handling all incident cases from test to results and drawing on a national reserve of call-handlers where required. There will be a single IT system for all levels and the system will be coordinated by a Covid Hub Coordination and Response Centre, with analytical support and regular communication to identify commonalities and outbreaks. 

To establish this our ask of Government is for:
  • Transfer of staff and / or funding at Level 2 to local Teams;
  • Control of Level 3 telephone-based support in contact pursuit as required – release to national pool when not needed;
  • Access to CTAS at all levels pending procurement of a better system;
  • Staff in regional system to be employed via the Covid Hub;
  • Data sharing to allow cross-boundary shared analysis and intelligence;
  • Financial support for the system.
We aim to take our communities with us and support compliance by encouraging people to do the right thing rather an emphasis on enforcement.  We are doing this by
  • Engaging our communities as part of the solution, creating a balance of living lives and reducing risk, acknowledging the difficult situations that our communities face;
  • Building on existing strengths and the sense of togetherness that has been so apparent during the pandemic;
In addition, we have used behavioural insights work to gain a better understanding about how people are feeling and how well they think the pandemic is being managed. These insights have informed the development of a bespoke communications package

We have started further insight work focusing on care home, teaching and healthcare staff to get a better understanding about the challenges of working in a pandemic and the challenges of protecting themselves and those they look after with a focus on exploring vaccine hesitancy.

We have also launched our community champions programme. Our community champions will have a number of roles including:
  • Acting as a trusted source of information to distribute accurate and up-to-date information on Covid 19 and to disrupt myths;
  • To identify people in communities who may need a bit of extra support;
  • And, to tell us what people are finding particularly difficult and work with us on solutions to make things better.
The use of the new Lateral Flow Devices, which provide results in a shorter space of time, is a rapidly evolving area.  Northumberland has started to deliver targeted community testing from the leisure centres in Ashington, Alnwick and Hexham drawing on our own staff volunteers and furloughed staff in Active Northumberland. This is going to be promoted to key workers in the following groups who cannot work from home and do not have access to testing through their employer: 
  • Education or childcare settings including nurseries and childminders
  • Carers (including informal carers, paid carers and those working for voluntary organisations)
  • Staff or volunteers in small or local public or voluntary sector organisations such as food banks
  • Small businesses providing key services
  • Small businesses (less than 50 staff), sole traders or self-employed people
  • Medium-sized local businesses (generally businesses between 50 – 250 staff)
  • Large business (over 250 staff) while awaiting the rollout of the national programme for large public and private sector institutions.    
In the longer term, we’d encourage larger employers to register and access testing though the recently launched employer led testing programme.

Anybody who can work from home should remain at home and not seek appointments for asymptomatic tests.
We are delivering targeted, behavioural and educational support for clinically vulnerable people and their close contacts (e.g. staff and relatives).  There is already a regional group who have been progressing this work, building on the ‘first wave’ and learning from assessments of groups affected by Covid and the consequences of Covid.  This will also build on the North East Care Home Work. 

We’re also working with colleagues in the CCG to ensure that vaccination uptake is equitable and doesn't exacerbate inequalities in key groups such as BAME populations, the homeless and other groups for whom accessibility to vaccination will be harder. 
The first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were administered in Northumberland on 15 December 2020, a week after the first Covid-19 vaccine was given in the UK. The rollout has occurred using an increasing number of GP led Local Vaccination Sites across the county, a hospital hub at Wansbeck Hospital and a Mass Vaccination Centre at Newcastle’s Centre for Life.  The plan is that by 15 February, all of those in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority groups 1 to 4 (see below) will have been offered a Covid 19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccination first phase priority groups

Priority 1 - Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
Priority 2 - All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
Priority 3 - All those 75 years of age and over
Priority 4 - All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age)
Priority 5 - All those 65 years of age and over
Priority 6 - Adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group (see clinical conditions below)
Priority 7 - All those 60 years of age and over
Priority 8 - All those 55 years of age and over
Priority 9 - All those 50 years of age and over
Priority 10 - Rest of the population (to be determined)

Clinical conditions list:
  • a blood cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • diabetes
  • dementia
  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
  • a kidney disease
  • a liver disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as HIV infection, steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or psoriasis (who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments)
  • have had an organ transplant
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • a neurological or muscle wasting condition
  • a severe or profound learning disability
  • a problem with your spleen, example sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
  • are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
  • are severely mentally ill

The delivery of this vast immunisation programme is extremely complex and not without its challenges. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was authorised for use by the independent regulator on the 30 December 2020. With its more straightforward storage and administration requirements, it has helped pick up the pace of the vaccination programme. A third vaccine, Moderna was approved on the 8 January 2021 with first doses expected in the spring.  A fourth vaccine is currently undergoing clinical trials and if approved, may be used in the second half of the year.

At the time of writing the NHS had provided over 10 million first vaccine doses.

If you’re over 70 or clinically extremely vulnerable and haven’t yet had your vaccination and want one then you should now contact your GP. For the next stage of the rollout of the vaccination programme, the key message to residents is to wait until you are contacted about your vaccine and not to contact your GP.  The vaccine is a welcome step in the fight against Covid19 and whilst it will protect people from becoming infected, we do not yet know the extent to which it will prevent transmission of infection. For this reason, it is critical that we keep following - hands, face, space, test and self-isolate if you develop symptoms.

Our five-point plan to economic recovery

Information about our five point plan to economic recovery. These five points are:

  1. Investing in the transition to a future economy
  2. Investing in our places, culture and tourism
  3. Investting in transport, digital and connectivity
  4. Investing in our people, jobs, skills and livelihoods
  5. Investing in a green recovery

Clean energy and clean growth represent a huge opportunity for economic recovery and future growth in Northumberland. We already have international assets at Energy Central in Blyth, with substantial investment committed by the Council and Combined Authority. And, there is a growing cluster of companies, including EDF, Global Marine Group and others operating in the offshore energy and subsea markets. 

The ongoing development at Northumberland Energy Park will make available strategic, quay-linked sites, with Enterprise Zone opportunities. These sites will link to internationally recognised innovation and R&D assets with independent test and research facilities as well as the wider local town regeneration scheme in Blyth. 
 
Game-changing investments
  • Northumberland Energy Park Phase 3 (NEP3) – large scale opportunity for international investor in space co-located to major offshore wind development cluster;
  • Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 (NEP1) – Government commitment to secure interested internal investor for the site
  • Ashwood Business Park –construction of high-quality industrial space to support growth of the advanced manufacturing cluster
  • Development of Berwick Ramparts Business Park and Fairmoor Business Park - both EZs, to create commercial and Knowledge Intensive Businesses expansion and investment
  • Energy Centre Learning Hub –increase STEM activity across the region, including skills and career path development, with direct links to industry
  • Energy Central Development Package – asset and infrastructure improvements building on and developing the existing international assets to attract further private sector investment
  • Ethical Food production – development of an incubator and production space to scale up and test products for growing businesses developing plant based products
  • Low Carbon Heat Networks & Hydro electricity – heat networks across a no. areas in SE Northumberland and potential hydro electric power plant in the Tyne valley
In a post-Covid world, Northumberland represents a future model for sustainable growth that will contribute to a resilient UK Plc.  Pre-Covid, Tourism was a significant contributor to the County’s economy, supporting over 15,000 jobs and bringing in increasing visitor numbers.  We are renowned for our welcoming people, globally renowned culture and landscapes. In Hadrian’s Wall, we have a unique attraction and our National Park and coastal are areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). So, with support, we are confident the tourism sector will recover and come back stronger than ever.

We are also at the forefront of creating a reimagined way of rural life that, in a post Covid world, will go from strength to strength in contributing to UK plc.  We will build on opportunities for innovation and growth of agri-technologies. And, with England’s largest man-made forest in Northumberland as well as the presence of the Forestry Commission creates opportunities for trialing new precision forestry technologies.

And we have a programme of investment in the renewal of our towns which will improve facilities and connectivity for local communities as well as attract investment into our town centres and surrounding areas.   
 
Game-changing investments
  • Northumberland Line Economic Corridor –strategic programme to develop major economic infrastructure at stations and station development including Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland Park, Manors and Newcastle Central 
  • Establishment of a Rural Design Centre linked to the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise at Newcastle university
  • Town Deals for Ashington following on from the Blyth Deal, and Investment Plans for smaller towns across the county
  • Hadrian’s Wall - Capital Development Programme involving the range of World Heritage Site assets across the Wall and a Recreational Route Network that better connects the Wall to villages, visitor attractions and existing walking and cycling routes.
  • Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, turning the unique economic challenges and assets to drive growth and renewal across the border counties.
  • Supercharged Rural Scale Up, building on all the lessons from previous initiatives to provide bespoke and agile support services to those businesses located within rural settings who have the appetite and potential to significantly scale up their productivity, turnover, and/or employment scale.
  • Rural Catalyst, mobilising people and places to realise sustainable growth in rural communities through innovation. Working in partnership with the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise, the next phase is to establish a Rural Design Centre that provides the practical capability to translate new ideas and research to generate business-led solutions to place-based rural challenges and opportunities.
  • Natural Capital Investment, developing a new place-based approach to harnessing economic, social and environmental value of our natural assets. Using the fundamental drivers of nature recovery; tree/woodland planting; and peat restoration coupled with land management innovation and diversification to create a post Covid- 19 countryside that our communities understand, cherish and enjoy.
The connectivity of Northumberland is key to driving future job growth, de-carbonising the economy, reducing social and health inequalities and taking advantage of post-Covid changes in working and living. 

Maximising the opportunity in changes to working behaviours seen during the Covid pandemic, with greater numbers of people wishing to work from home in the longer term, as well as ensuring the connectivity exists for new and existing businesses the County requires upgrades to digital infrastructure.  

Game-changing investments
  • Northumberland Line - the Northumberland – North Tyneside – Newcastle rail line will be transformational growth corridor – brought forward by Project SPEED, and with massive potential to drive new passenger flows, new housing and commercial sites, and skills-and-jobs opportunities for residents along the corridor.
  • Strategic Road Improvements – opening up future developments and improving travel times and capacity including A1 dualling. As well as a Town Walking and Cycling investment progamme across the county.
  • Addressing the residual gaps in 4G through the Borderlands 4G Infill Infrastructure Programme​;
  • Extending delivery of the existing Local Full Fibre programme to strengthen connectivity in rural areas – ensuring that we invest now to support remote working and public services in our rural communities
  • Working with NTCA - 5G investment focused on connected health, prevention and climate change – emphasising uses cases that are aligned with our key sectors and anchor businesses.
  • Freeport proposal, which would accelerate inward investment and exporting in and around the Port of Blyth.  A setup investment would create the conditions for local supply chains and increase the advanced manufacturing of components of key sectors, including the off-shore energy industry, building on the hub in Blyth.
The people of Northumberland are a key asset; the entrepreneurial, hardworking and friendly communities and individuals make the County what it is. We know that higher level and new skills are required to drive the growth of our key sectors. 

We also know that post-Covid we are likely to face more challenges of unemployment and those seeking to change careers. Ensuring we have the programmes in place to support people and businesses will be key in maintaining business stability and growth and realising individual’s potential.

Game-changing investments
  • Skills - The learning & Skills service provides over 600 courses to 16-18 year olds, adults and Apprenticeships.  Working with the NTCA and the devolved adult education budget means the provision can more than ever before reflect what businesses need. 
  • Maximise apprenticeships – including a fully devolved Apprenticeship service to NTCA – with Levy responsibility, the ability to introduce spending flexibilities and co-delivery of fiscal incentive programme. 
  • Sectoral change programme – reaching 6,000 people and focusing on transitioning to emerging green jobs, allowing us to act fast in securing good job opportunities and avoid preventable unemployment effects.
  • A bold 10-year Education Challenge – this is critical to sustaining gains in educational outcomes and underpinning future regional growth.
  • With NTCA influence Kickstarter and Labour Market (DWP) schemes (including Youth Hubs) and powers and funding to deliver wrap-around employment support, employer engagement and join-up with existing social and skills programmes.
  • Business Support programmes which respond to post-covid needs of business and specific rural support.
  • Working regionally to secure future finance for Northumberland businesses building on previous JEREMEY evergreen investment funds.
We have declared a ‘climate emergency’ - pledging to halve the Council’s carbon footprint by 2025 and to work with central government to make the county carbon neutral by 2030. Alongside Government’s plans for carbon reduction and green energy, this creates opportunities to make significant investments as part of our ambition to be the country's leading rural green economy. These will include green energy projects, sustainable transport solutions, partnerships with local communities and businesses and protecting and enhancing our natural resources.

Game-changing investments
  • Low Carbon Heat Networks – decarbonising heat in our towns through development of heat networks using sustainable heat sources such as flooded mine water in Blyth and biomass in Cramlington.
  • Great Northumberland Forest - the creation of a new Great Northumberland Forest where the first step will be to plant up to one million trees by 2024 at three locations across the county on existing or newly purchased government land that totals around 300 hectares. This could rise to 5,000 hectares of new forest by 2030.
  • Renewable Energy - investing in renewable energy sources will be a key pillar of our climate strategy. These include a potential hydro-electric scheme in the Tyne Valley, solar energy on commercial and residential property and off-shore wind generation.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging - we will continue to maintain and expand our network of electric vehicle chargers to support the transition to clean transport.
  • Green Homes - we will invest in improving homes across the county to provide better energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills as well as carbon emissions.

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