THE North East could spearhead the UK recovery in 2013 if the Government realises its potential, according to the region’s largest business membership organisation.
The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) today publishes its manifesto for growth, calling on the Government to do more to strengthen the North East, as the region continues to attract inward investment and export across the world.
The document sets out NECC’s lobbying priorities for the year, which are compiled following consultation with its 4,000 member businesses.
John Mowbray, NECC president, said: “With the UK focused on creating sustainable economic growth, we must work together as a region to maximise the potential the North East offers.
“We have survived recession with record-breaking export figures, a rise in employment as well as increases in business optimism. We must build on this in 2013 and make sure our region is fit for the future.
“Our message to the Government is no longer ‘What can you do for us?’ Our new message is ‘This is what we do for you!’
“We’re a region standing on our own two feet, attracting inward investment, exporting across the world and developing our own home-grown businesses.
“To continue our progress, we require action by local, regional and national bodies, including Government. We also need businesses to be willing to work together in the interests of the region.”
In 2013, NECC will campaign for developing infrastructure to ensure that the North East is well connected to key markets in the UK and overseas.
It will also support competitiveness of North East businesses, campaign for reductions to business rates and empty property rates as well as push for a reform of fuel duty.
The manifesto sets out the need for investment in the region, with the emphasis on improved transport, energy and digital infrastructure that will allow the region to build on its exporting strength.
It also calls for the Government to support the North East’s burgeoning green economy to create a special opportunity for the region to be world leaders in renewable energy.
Mowbray added: “The manifesto priorities have come directly from the 4,000 businesses we represent, covering one-third of the workforce, all localities in the region, all industrial sectors and all sizes of business, following widespread consultation.
“This manifesto therefore presents a uniquely important collective view from the North East’s diverse private sector. We believe the success of these businesses in 2013 is vitally important for the North East and the whole of the UK.
“They make an essential contribution to the health of the economy.”