Competitive North East

The pandemic has caused enormous damage to businesses across our region.

Cashflow, already at low levels, plummeted as orders dried up and firms were forced to shut down. Businesses that have taken up the various Government support schemes have acquired significant new debts as a result.

We cannot allow these problems to become long-term, structural issues in our economy. To recover and grow, we need to improve the financial health of our businesses to put them in the best possible position to capitalise on any new opportunities.

What is needed?

Further support is going to be needed in the short-term, particularly to help sectors most vulnerable to further lockdowns and for the large numbers of self-employed who were excluded from previous schemes. The right assistance must also be in place to support those who lose their jobs to start up their own business should they wish to do so.

The public sector has a significant role to play in supporting our region’s competitiveness. Further reform of procurement practices would help local firms win work more successfully and help to build greater diversity and resilience in supply chains. Government also needs to drastically speed up its reform of the business rates system to improve fairness and ease the burden on local businesses.

The North East needs:

  • Financial support for at-risk sectors, the self-employed and start-ups to help with the recovery process
  • Further improvements to procurement processes to give regional firms a greater chance to compete for work
  • Rapid and fair reform of business rates to encourage local regeneration
  • To build resilient supply chains across the public and private sector
  • Urgent delivery of post-Brexit regional development funding, tied explicitly to addressing economic imbalances

Our commitment: resilient supply chains

From food to face masks, the pandemic exposed the fragility of some of our critical national supply chains. Businesses in the North East responded remarkably to the crisis, sharing and distributing vital supplies and services across the region.

We must learn from this, not only in the field of public health, but in business operations more widely. Strong working relationships between public, private and third sector build resilience and flexibility into supply chains.

The Chamber commits to working with members of all shapes and sizes to improve collaboration, to share new opportunities and to promote best practice throughout supply chains.

“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 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.”

Chris Smith, Executive Director of Business Growth – Thirteen Group

Get involved with our Stronger North East campaign by emailing [email protected]

Campaigning for a Stronger North East

Our mission is not just to repair the damage done to our economy in recent months. It is to come back stronger. We must correct historic unfairness, tackle inequalities and show the world what we are capable of. North East England is a fantastic, unique place with enormous economic potential. Through collective endeavour, and with the right support, we know that potential is within our reach.

To get involved with our Stronger North East campaign, email [email protected]

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