Paul Carbert, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “The figures released this morning show that the North East labour market ended 2016 in a better position compared to the previous year, with unemployment lower and employment higher.
“With a number of increases in labour costs for employers due to be introduced in April, including the apprenticeship levy, immigration skills charge, and an increase in the national minimum wage, the Government must consider measures to reduce the impact of these rising business costs. These expenses will undoubtedly impact on employers’ ability to recruit.
“In order to create a North East where as many people as possible are in work, we have also urged the Government to introduce new funding models. We want these models to support retraining and upskilling of existing workers to ensure that employers have access to the skills they need.”