In a week in which the Chamber of Commerce launched a ‘Stronger North East campaign’ calling for greater influence, connectivity, competitiveness, global trade, employment and skills, we asked Wear Business leaders does the region’s industry and business need special treatment?
Rico Liverani, director at DCS Payroll Agency, Sunderland
Time and again, the North East’s workforce has shown how dedicated and hard-working it is.
People are motivated, ambitious and resourceful but historically the region has suffered from chronic under-investment.
In the Wear region, we saw what happened when the shipyards, the mines and the steelworks closed without a masterplan in place to rescue and revive the region.
In recent years, positive steps have been taken to reverse that trend but it is vital that those steps continue.
With the twin issues of Covid-19 and Brexit, (which could bring opportunities as well as challenges), it is important that efforts continue to be made to make the most of the great resources the North East has.
DCS is a Chamber member and welcomes the launch of this campaign.
We wish it every success.
Rob Coupland, CEO, Pulsant
Pulsant’s business is national, but we chose to locate our Technical Support Centre in the North East because of the skilled and ambitious talent the region offers.
The COVID19 situation highlights just how critical digital infrastructure is for all companies and the North East has an exciting opportunity ahead addressing this.
Jonathan Walker, assistant director, North East England Chamber of Commerce
If ‘levelling up’ regions such as ours was a priority before the pandemic, then its importance has increased tenfold now.
The time has come for a serious national plan to close the economic gaps between regions. We know businesses in our region are up for playing their part.
This means fundamental changes to both national policies and funding allocations across the board to meet the specific objective of reducing regional inequality.
Alongside this, further devolution of decision making is essential to give greater local control over how that money is spent.
The pandemic has generated intense debate on town centres and their future.
Stronger North East’s recommendations on this issue include sustainable support for independent start-ups in town centres and repurposing key spaces in them to ensure they are effectively used to stimulate economic growth.
As has happened in Sunderland. It also stresses the importance of Government and businesses working together closely to overcome current economic challenges.
Nagma Ebanks-Beni MBE, Seaham-based Prima Cheese
International trade has been an integral part of our region’s economy for over 200 years for sound financial reasons.
Exporting is an invaluable way of increasing marketplaces and reducing risk to fluctuations in demand for services or products.
We have gained so much from our own overseas sales not just in terms of additional sales but also as it provides unique, exciting opportunities for our team.
More companies could get the benefit of this approach but they need support.
Chris Smith, executive director of business growth, Thirteen Group
At Thirteen we want everyone to have a home who needs one.
Having enough quality homes that people can afford – whether they rent or buy – is crucial to support the economy. Investing in new affordable homes and improving existing homes is a key driver of growth and without sufficient housing it will throttle the North East’s true economic potential.
Now more than ever it is imperative we support local businesses with supply chains that help to both secure and create jobs.
David Horne, managing director, LNER
LNER is a proud member of the North East business community, helping to connect it with the rest of the UK.
Working with the North East England Chamber of Commerce and communities across the region we will, together, continue to support recovery from the pandemic and transform vital transport connectivity for the future.
Andrew Haigh, chief executive, Newcastle Building Society
A vibrant high street is crucial to the wellbeing of our local communities, never more so as we confront the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Together, we each have a role to play in re-shaping our town centres and in helping them become the diverse, accessible, multifunctional hubs that will energise our communities through recovery