Despite large numbers of press reports detailing the national and global economic downturn, negative employment statistics and price hikes, James Ramsbotham still remains optimistic.
“Things aren’t as bad as people are making out. While its important to recognise how tough it is, people are also going too far the other way,” he commented.
In his role of president of the NECC, James works closely with local businesses to identify ways of promoting their interests, regionally, nationally and internationally and throughout our conversation, James is keen to emphasise the regions strengths, especially the flourishing exports sector. “The North East is the biggest exporter in the country, and we have a positive balance of trade.
“We now need to raise the region’s profile further, and really make people nationally and internationally want to do business here.”
However James has also witnessed first hand the financial difficulties many businesses have faced over the past few months. In the wake of these issues, James is now calling for an overhaul of the relationship between banks and businesses.
“Businesses need more support from banks, but also need to be prepared to fulfil banks demands for information if they are to have a change of getting funding,” he said.
“Banks need to form positive relationships with businesses so we can see real differences coming out of the recession.”
He was also keen to promote the use of apprentices, but raised serious questions about the fact that they are not used frequently by public bodies; “I’m passionate about apprentices, and they should be properly embraced – indeed, many of today’s business leaders began as apprentices themselves.
“However, hardly any public sector bodies use apprentices which is a great shame. I believe that there should be clauses introduced to ensure apprentices are included.”
James is now looking forward to ways in which the regions economy can be supported to ensure the recovery is a success: “ There are some tough challenges ahead. The service sector is being impacted, but the recent surge in manufacturing must now be supported with further infrastructure projects to help encourage the North East economy to prosper.”