Business group launches bid for stronger region this year
An ambitious campaign to bring more investment to the North East in areas crucial to its growth has been launched by North East England Chamber of Commerce.
Based on Chamber’s members’ views, the 2019 Stronger North East campaign demands more support for exporters, better infrastructure and increased flexibility for employers to use the apprenticeship levy to fill skills gaps.
John McCabe, Chamber president said: “We continue to be passionate in our desire to build a Stronger North East.
“This will be an economy that builds on its existing assets to become more productive, more resilient and more inclusive.
“This Stronger North East campaign sets out the changes we need to see to achieve our ambitions.”
One of the issues at the heart of the campaign is to ensure the region is as competitive as possible.
As part of this the Chamber urges the Government to progress a new UK Shared Prosperity Fund that expressly addresses the needs of the North East.
It also wants to see interventions across the North East to stimulate and support town centres.
Stronger North East also sets out the need for more funding and innovative approaches to improve the quality and diversity of housing stock in the region and the need for ambitious local housing and infrastructure strategies that enable economic growth.
Chris Smith, from Chamber Partner Thirteen, said: “We believe that having an accessible and diverse housing offer across the North East is an essential part of creating the right environment for the region to grow.
“Investing in housing development is an important driver for growth, it stimulates the economy, creates and sustains jobs, and generates confidence in our communities.
“Quality is a major factor, we need new homes that match the aspirations of people at whatever stage they are in their lives, regardless of whether they want to buy or rent.”
Devolution is also highlighted in the campaign as the Chamber says its members need the incoming North of Tyne Mayor to work with business to grow the local economy and for funding programmes in Tees Valley to be aligned with the needs of employers.
Transport is fundamental to the region’s success and the Chamber wants investment across the rail network in the North East to enable better local and national connections.
It also demands improved access to ports and airports to further international trade ambitions.