North East firms are primed and ready to spearhead a resurgent regional economy in 2014, according to the region’s largest business membership organisation.
The North East Chamber of Commerce has published its 2014 manifesto, in which it sets key lobbying priorities to empower business, stimulate growth, create jobs and help the North East become an international gateway for industry.
NECC has pledged to continue championing the North East as a place to live, work and invest and is calling on the Government to back regional business ambition to drive the economy forward.
The manifesto aims to build on the lobbying successes of 2013, which saw the Government commit to a host of key infrastructure projects in the region, including the creation of a motorway link from London to Tyneside.
There were also positive regional and national announcements on the freezing of business rates at two per cent, development-friendly local plans, regional support for carbon capture and storage, doubling of export support to £50billion and the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership’s skills pilot.
NECC president Dave Laws said: “If 2013 was about repairing the foundations of our regional economy, then 2014 must be about using the progress we have made as a springboard for genuine economic growth.
“Successfully rejuvinating our economy requires local, regional and national organisations to pull together to recognise the potential within North East companies. Creating the conditions in which they thrive must be a top priority and NECC will campaign to ensure it remains at the forefront of national decision makers’ minds.
“The North East is on the up, we are going places and our public and private sectors are demonstrating that we are stronger together and a united force can get things done.
“The fact that GVA has grown well above the national average at a time of severe public sector cuts is a demonstration of what we’re capable of and that we mean business.
“This manifesto sets out the policy developments NECC members believe are most critical to enable this to happen. It includes the main changes in national policy needed to get the most from our businesses, but more specifically the changes needed in both central Government’s approach to the regional economy and the actions of decision makers and public bodies operating within the North East.”
Key manifesto priorities include pushing for an A1 dualling feasibility study and A1 upgrades and encouraging councils to support business growth, despite budget reductions.