Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Help needed to boost regional economy, says NECC

More action is needed to ensure the North East can benefit from the economic recovery, according to the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Ahead of the Government’s Autumn Statement, the NECC is urging the Chancellor George Osborne to take steps to ensure the region is not left behind as he attempts to re-balance the UK economy.

NECC chief executive James Ramsbotham believes that to rejuvenate the region, spending must be re-prioritised, targeted tax reductions put into place, and spending on North East infrastructure must also be accelerated.

Alongside these issues, Mr Ramsbotham believes that reforms must also be made to change he current planning system, and monetary policy should be eased to boost credit availability for businesses.

Mr Ramsbotham said: “If the Government’s aims of re-balancing towards the private sector, towards exports, and towards manufacturing are to be achieved, we believe re-balancing towards regions such as the North East which have the potential to perform much more strongly is essential.

“The region’s sustained excellence in export performance contributes enormously to UK Plc, but by playing to strengths in this field and manufacturing and utilising regional capacity for further business development the North East could be contributing so much more.”

The North East is one of the biggest export areas in the UK, but Mr Ramsbotham believes that more support is needed if the region is to fulfill its economic potential. The NECC North East Business Barometer shows that exports are expected to continue growing, although action is needed to address weak domestic demand that is leaving the service sector flat.

He continued: “While we appreciate that change does now occur overnight, we are demonstrating the strategic and economic value a high-speed rail network would bring to the region or much needed upgrades to the A1 and A19, highlighting that our airports continue
to be hit by heavy taxation and that acceleration of broadband funding would enormously boost our digital network.

“Without addressing these issues immediately the North East will always be entering the fight for economic growth with one hand tied behind its back.”

NECC have highlighted the issue of tax, and have suggested a reduction in National Insurance, and enhanced capital and investment allowances. which would help the regions’ maunfacturing base. Mr Ramsbotham also called on George Osborne to increase the annual investment allowance, and to further promote and reward energy efficiency.

Mr Ramsbotham concluded: “The North East does not want, nor does it require special attention, but we do deserve parity with the rest of the UK when it comes to investment in planes, trains and automobiles infrastructure, energy, broadband networks and taxation.

“Our broad business base has absorbed the impact of the recession and if the private sector is to lead the recovery then we require the tools to helps us do the job.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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