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Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

Election 2015: Views from across the North East

Here at Bdaily we’re continuing to ask North East businesses about what they want and expect from the forthcoming general election. This weeek we’ve compiled varying views from a range of regional businesses.

Derek Boyd, Director at Tees Valley chartered accountants and business advisers Waltons Clark Whitehill said:

“The new Government can go a long way towards helping businesses by creating a confidence for firms to plan for the next few years, not just the coming weeks or months. Businesses need to be able to make big decisions and they can only do that if they feel the economic environment in the UK is stable.”

Paul McEldon, Chief Executive of the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) said:

“The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) has seen a great increase in the levels of those becoming self-employment as well as a rise in the availability of start-up loans. However we need more resource and money into small businesses. Reducing bureaucracy and cutting red tape will help businesses reach the next level. Help out there is still needed.”

“It seems to me that a lot of promises in manifestoes are broken when a party gets into power and yet it is the detail in the manifesto which plays a huge part in getting them into government.”

Pamela Petty, Managing Director of Ebac, said:

“I would like to see much more emphasis on import substitution, including incentives for retailers. Encouragement to make more of the things we buy, as Ebac is with washing machines and chest freezers, is vital for a healthy economy. Subsidies for new job creation and tax relief to encourage investment would also be very welcome.

“Access to finance must still be a huge barrier to business growth and therefore job creation. There is cheaper money available but this is generally secured against assets so increase in working capital, which manufacturers need to grow is impossible to finance. A business friendly Government needs to address this.”

Alastair Wilson, Tax Partner at Tait Walker Chartered Accountants, said:

“That the voice of the North East is listened to by any new Government and we are treated as a region of equal importance to the rest of the “Northern Powerhouse” i.e. that we aren’t seen as a second class cousin of Manchester, Leeds, or Sheffield within the North and that we receive the same levels of financial support and strategic development as these regions.

“That we are delivered a Government which actively seeks to rebalance the increasing financial divide between our region and Scotland. In doing so this would be a Government which recognises that helping Scotland is an aim which must be balanced and not to the detriment of those who border Scotland.

“That the future Government seeks to ensure that our Local Enterprise Partnerships and Councils work collectively and effectively to generate growth for the North East as a whole. In additions to this, that our regional strengths in the manufacturing, digital, pharmaceutical and offshore engineering sectors are properly supported by strategies which assist the region to grow economically as a whole.

John Dickson, Group Chairman at Owen Pugh, said:

“After a long and difficult recession in the construction industry we are starting to see some recovery but the biggest threat to that progress is uncertainty and the election itself is the primary culprit right now. Looking beyond that, we want to see continuity of what is already working: sustained investment in the infrastructure of the North East, continued effort to reduce the deficit, continued low interest rates and a real focus on reducing red tape.”

Amanda Vigar, Managing Partner of V&A Vigar & Co (Darlington) LLP, said:

“Red tape is time consuming, costly and overwhelming for many small business owners and, therefore, policies that would reduce this burden would be of real benefit to SMEs.

“I also would like to see the introduction of a HMRC Service Covenant that would put experienced staff back on the front line who can actually answer queries and which has real teeth when HMRC fail to deliver. This should make HMRC accountable for the extra administrative costs they inflict on taxpayers. It would drag the organisation into the modern world in terms of communicating with the people they are supposed to be there to serve.”

Got an opinion? Why not have your say? Contact Jamie at to feature in our final two installments before May 7.

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