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“The North East could spearhead the UK recovery in 2013” / John Mowbray, NECC President

The North East could spearhead the UK recovery in 2013 if its economic potential is realised, according to the region’s largest business membership organisation.

The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) today publishes “NECC’s Manifesto for Growth in 2013”, in which it sets four key areas that must be addressed if North East businesses are to maximise the potential of our location, diverse business base, international transport gateways, natural resources and skills base.

The document sets out NECC’s lobbying priorities for the year, which are compiled following thorough consultation with member businesses.

The Manifesto calls for Government to do more to strengthen the North East by championing regional business to ensure UK plc is receives the maximum benefit from our vibrant companies; developing regional infrastructure to build on export success; supporting business by improving information on available finance; and removing barriers to encourage companies to bid for local public sector contracts.

John Mowbray, NECC President, said: “With the UK focused on creating sustainable economic growth we must work together as a region to maximise the potential the North East offers. We have survived recession with record breaking export figures, a rise in employment as well as increases in business optimism – we must build on this in 2013 and make sure our region is fit for the future.

“Our message to the Government is no longer, “what can you do for us?”. Our new message is, “this is what we do for you!” We’re a region standing on our own two feet, attracting inward investment, exporting across the world and developing our own home-grown businesses.

“To continue our progress, we require action by local, regional and national bodies, including Government. We also need businesses to be willing to work together in the interests of the region. NECC will strive throughout the year to encourage the partnership needed between these organisations to create the best possible conditions for growth in 2013.”

In 2013 NECC will campaign for:

Champion North East business to ensure the interests of the regional economy are prominent in national decision-making, and we will campaign for:

  • Influence local authority budgets to help protect services important to businesses
  • Support and challenge Local Enterprise Partnerships in creating conditions for growth
  • Highlight the importance of vibrant town and city centres
  • Encourage greater support for the tourism industry

Developing infrastructure as it is critical that the North East is well connected to key markets in the UK and overseas, we will:

  • Help demonstrate the demand for super-fast broadband
  • Monitor the impact of energy market reform on high energy use businesses
  • Promote the benefits of the Green Deal for businesses
  • Support the case for a carbon capture and storage pilot in Teesside

Supporting competitiveness of North East businesses

  • Hold banks to account for their lending
  • Influence the design of a UK Business Bank
  • Encourage large businesses to pay suppliers promptly
  • Make the case for fit for purpose export finance from Government
  • Seek to build better links between business and education

Removing barriers to free up North East businesses to deliver growth

  • Promote a positive local approach to development
  • Campaign for simpler and smarter approaches to public procurement
  • Highlight the need to cut the burden of employment regulations
  • Campaign for reductions to business rates and empty property rates
  • Push for reform of fuel duty

The Manifesto sets out the need for investment in the region to reflect the concerns of NECC’s members – with the emphasis on improved transport, energy and digital infrastructure that will allow the region to build on exporting strength and also allow the region more freedom to set these infrastructure priorities.

The Manifesto calls for the Government to support the region’s burgeoning green economy to create a special opportunity for the region to be world leaders in decarbonising industry, while removing potentially oppressive legislation impacting on the region’s high number of energy-intensive industries and other barriers to private sector growth.

Mr Mowbray added: “The Manifesto priorities have come directly from the 4,000 businesses we represent, covering one-third of the workforce, all localities in the region, all industrial sectors and all sizes of business, following widespread consultation with members.

“This Manifesto therefore presents a uniquely important collective view from the North East’s diverse private sector. We believe the success of these businesses in 2013 is vitally important for the North East and the whole of the UK.

“They make an essential contribution to the health of the national economy and the issues that affect their growth must be given very close attention at all levels.”


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