Policy Board

Policy Spokesperson on Economic Development & Housing

Martin Swales

Solace: Team Member Photo


Policy Spokesperson on Economic Development & Housing

Martin Swales
Chief Executive
South Tyneside Council


The Policy Spokesperson on Economic Prosperity & Housing provides a lead on this policy area for the Society. They also lead the relevant Policy Network


In 2012, Martin Swales was appointed Solace Spokesperson for Economic Growth and Housing, representing Local Government Chief Executives and Senior Managers with Central Government, business and the media.

Martin has been Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council since 2010. During this time, Martin has encouraged a culture of genuine partnership between Elected Members, staff, residents and strategic partners to deliver a programme of change for South Tyneside. Investment in town centres, housing and urban regeneration has strengthened economic growth, bringing more jobs and investment, whilst innovation underpins improved service delivery for residents within the Metropolitan Borough.

Martin has led key economic growth programmes South and North of the River Tyne. His work on the A19 economic corridor has supported significant jobs growth in the North East of England. In partnership with neighbouring Sunderland City Council, Martin has overseen the development and implementation of the IAMP, an International Advanced Manufacturing Park, which will drive economic growth to attract over £300m private sector investment and create more than 5,200 new jobs for the region. 

Since 2010, South Tyneside has secured £1.1bn public and private sector investment in town centres, housing, health, schools, transport, urban and coastal regeneration. In South Shields, the largest town in South Tyneside, the Council agreed a £100m investment programme which is now taking shape in the form of ‘South Shields 365’, an ambitious shopping and leisure town centre redevelopment with new transport infrastructure.  Martin has led a number of landmark developments including ‘The Word’ The National Centre for the Written Word, an iconic gateway building connecting riverside and town centre.

South Tyneside is a designated Health and Social Care Integration Pioneer area. The Council has focused on improving health outcomes and quality of life for local people, promoting prevention and supporting greater levels of self-care. Haven Court, a new £9m facility sets the design standard for integrated dementia care and support services. It is part of the Council’s strategy to reshape the entire health and social care system, reducing cross-sector demand pressures and costs, whilst promoting health and independence of residents.

Martin is responsible for an annual budget turnover of £527m and 5000 staff. Working with Elected Members he has overseen the delivery of £126m of efficiencies since 2010, with a further £58m of planned efficiencies now being developed and implemented.

Regionally, Martin is the Principal Adviser to Newcastle Airport Board, advising the Airport and Council Leaders on key strategic developments, with lead responsibility for managing the relationship with the 49% shareholder ‘AMP Global Capital’. South Tyneside Council is the Administering Authority for the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund and as Chief Executive Martin has Lead Officer responsibility for the Fund, which has 230 employers and around 130,000 members.  With a value of £6.4bn it is one of the largest local government pension funds in the UK.