WE’RE pretty good in the North East at hiding our light under a bushel. Forgive the sweeping generalisation, but we’re a modest region that goes about its work effectively and efficiently and doesn’t make a song and dance about our achievements, of which there are many.
I was asked this week why the North East has seen such an improvement in attracting direct foreign investment in the past year.
Overseas investors helped generate 3,019 jobs in the region last year, almost doubling the previous year’s tally, according to Ernst and Young’s annual UK Attractiveness Survey.
For me the answer is obvious. The North East boasts the international connections, natural resources, committed workforce, lack of congestion and general quality of life essential to attract direct foreign investment.
Our growing reputation for delivery and export performance is also a major factor.
Nissan’s continued commitment to the region, SSI’s arrival, the expansion of Calsonic Kansei and imminent arrival of Hitachi are just a handful of examples of our ability to attract and retain global companies, firms that have recognised our potential and see their long-term futures here in the region.
I am delighted that the North East is increasingly being recognised as the location for these businesses and long may it continue as they will undoubtedly help boost our prosperity as well as our reputation.
And it is the prosperity of the region that is such a hot topic at the moment with the Government seemingly intent on pressing ahead with regionalised public sector pay.
It is fundamentally wrong to take money from the North East and give it to areas already far wealthier than us. A sensible long-term approach to the UK economy would be to make regions more equal.
:: James Ramsbotham is chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce