North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, John McCabe at 10 Downing Street.

North East Chamber visits Downing Street to pitch for local economic growth

Measures to unleash the potential for North East economic growth were at the top of the agenda when the region’s Chamber of Commerce chief executive met with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in Downing Street on July 4.

The roundtable, organised in collaboration with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), focused on local economic growth and will enable government policy to be informed by business perspectives at the highest level.

The wide-ranging discussion included devolution, investment zones, regional growth plans, skills and transport, with the region’s Chamber chief executive, John McCabe, making a strong case for government support for a surge in local investment to boost the North East’s economy.

John commented: “I took this opportunity to speak very directly to the Chancellor about the resilience and ingenuity of North East businesses. We’re still leaning into strong economic headwinds but there is real optimism for a surge in private sector investment in our region.

“In order to deliver this, we’re going to need to pull on all of the levers of devolution to ensure we kickstart our economy, build a future skills pipeline, provide good quality housing for people working and studying here, connect the North East through a modern and affordable transport system and support the public services on which all businesses and individuals depend.”

The meeting was attended by representatives of five Chambers of Commerce from across the UK and is a result of the BCC’s ongoing engagement at the highest levels of the British government.

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the BCC, also attended the meeting. She added: “It was incredibly useful to connect Chamber chief executives and the businesses they represent with the Chancellor today to lay out their experiences on the ground.

“It was encouraging to see the Chancellor listening so intently to discussions around unlocking the potential for greater investment in our local areas as well as the importance of getting UK businesses back to growth.

“The Chancellor heard the Chamber network’s calls on three main issues; utilising planning for growth, sorting out the national grid queuing system and tackling the UK’s tight labour market. More must be done to unlock the planning system at pace, to help firms seeking to invest and to build new facilities.”

In order to achieve growth, the need for an efficient national grid was discussed, to ensure businesses are supplied with the energy capacity they need, as well as enough workers to fill empty jobs.

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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