MPs, councillors and business leaders have been debating the crucial question of how the North East can flourish. The fringe debate was held in Manchester as part of the Labour Party conference.
There was general agreement that the region must do more to help itself and not expect handouts from government.
So what is the solution?
The debate focused on the following trio: trade, training and transport. That means encouraging exports, improving the skills of the North East workforce and making it easier to get from A to B.
One MP says it is crucial that people can travel to the region's major factories and offices.
There was general agreement that the North East has many strengths; the crucial thing is to recognise and sell those assets to the rest of the world.
The debate was entitled 'Working Together for a Better North East'. It was a sentiment echoed by all delegates. The question is getting that to work in practice.