Ruth Mitchell

Back North East business says NECC

The North East’s most successful companies need more support from the Chancellor if the region is to maximise its contribution to the economic recovery.

In a letter to the Chancellor, the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) called for radical proposals to boost growth by supporting the strengths of regional business.

NECC Director of Membership and Policy Andrew Sugden is urging the Government to follow through on its commitment to re-balance the UK economy, whilst also providing clarity on how it will be measured.

In the submission, the NECC also encourages the Government to offer extra support to energy intensive businesses in the region which may be hit by restrictive emissions legislation, with a regional tariff on these firms balanced against the North East’s work in electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Mr Sugden believes that the North East can provide a critical contribution to the green economy, due to the region’s expertise in electric vehicle manufacture and sustainable energy innovation.

He commented: “The North East economy is not a problem that the UK needs to solve. Rather, it is an asset which it needs to develop further to produce a stronger return for UK plc.

“The region’s continued excellence in export performance contributes enormously to the economy, 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.”

He went on to warn the Government about the dangers of not addressing these key issues immediately, as they could prevent the North East from fulfilling its potential and contribute to the economic recovery.

Mr Sugden added: It is hugely significant that this is happening next door to some of the UK’s most important energy intensive businesses, creating a special opportunity for the region to be world leaders in de-carbonising industry.

“However, this is threatened by taxes on energy use inhibiting the success of these manufacturing industries.”

Reflecting on the results of its North East Quarterly Economic Survey, the NECC believes that manufacturing and exports will lead the economic recovery, but the statistics also demonstrate that action is needed to address weak domestic demand which is leaving the sector flat.

In their Budget Submission, the NECC focuses on a number of key issues, including capital allowances, empty property rates and transmission tariffs. Once again they raised the problem of Air Passenger Duty, which they believe should be reduced, as well as diesel duty and the need for planning reforms.

Mr Sugden added: “Our submission is both pragmatic and realistic. A few simple changes will ensure the North East enjoys parity with the rest of the country and help contribute so much more to the country’s economy.

“Give us the tools to do the job and we will demonstrate what we can achieve.”

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