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Chamber round up August 2017


See our recent news updates on our invitation to transport secretary, export stats, the upcoming Boston Trade Mission and Tees Valley Annual Dinner

Chamber urges transport secretary to visit North East

The North East England Chamber of Commerce has invited Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to visit the region and see at first hand the impact of the huge transport funding imbalance between the North East and London.

The letter, signed by both Chamber President John McCabe and chief executive, James Ramsbotham, painted a stark picture of how this funding disparity has a severe and limiting effect on the North’s economy. It highlights how the lack of investment solidifies rather than eradicates regional divides, an ambition to reduce the gap had been previously set out by the Government.

James Ramsbotham said: “We want the Minister to see the conditions businesses experience every day on our regional network and witness the difference targeted, consistent investment could make to our regional economy. The cancelled rail electrification programme would have provided the missing pieces on a stretch of fully electrified railway from Newcastle to Liverpool through Durham, Darlington, York, Leeds and Manchester.

“Reversal of such high profile planned infrastructure upgrades in the North of England, couples the long term impact on the region’s economic potential, with the short term blow to business confidence and efforts to rebalance the UK’s economy.

“North East England, in particular, has made great progress in recent years with employment rising and unemployment falling, but our members continue to point to the need to improve transport connectivity to enable them to realise their potential.

“It is vital that the Government plays its part in providing the connectivity our region’s businesses need to flourish.”

Record figures for Chamber export team

North East England Chamber of Commerce’s export team has supported £1 billion of exports from the region’s businesses in the first six months of the year, the highest figure ever achieved.

The products exported are from a range of businesses, of all sizes, around the region from Nissan to Fentimans and from Ecco Finishing to Guardian Marine Testing, for destinations around the globe.

Brian Dakers, international trade manager said: “There were a number of factors that led to this great statistic, including the devaluation of sterling which has made our goods very attractive overseas, and enabled some businesses to compete where perhaps they hadn’t been able to do so previously. The food and drink sectors were particularly strong and there is definitely an increased appetite for UK made goods.

“It is good for our regional economy that we are seeing new exporters who are putting their toe in the water of selling overseas, or growing through selling to additional markets, once they’ve whet their whistle in Europe or North America.

“Middle Eastern markets are particularly buoyant at present. The Qatar World Cup and the Dubai Expo have both been excellent opportunities for Chamber Global members who are winning work in a number of sectors, including infrastructure projects designed to transform the host cities in time for huge increases in footfall.

“There has been a growing trend for companies selling to countries outside of the EU in part due to more businesspeople travelling to Asia, for example, on holiday and then deciding to explore opportunities. Anecdotally, we also hear of successes coming in via support of the Global Chamber network, enabled by the Department for International Trade to assist SME’s looking to do more in particular high growth areas, and now gaining traction.

“These are a very encouraging set of statistics which are reflective of a broad base of customers all doing well. Our exporting companies represent the cream of the UK’s offer, and will capitalise on opportunities with the best of them. Imagine what they could achieve with a stable environment, certainty over Brexit and an industrial strategy designed to bolster their efforts.”

Companies are helped to export by the Chamber international trade team with practical advice and services including tax, documentation, licenses and customs compliance.

The Chamber also has regular events and trade missions to support businesses who already export or want to explore overseas markets, delivered by the Department for International Trade.

Tees Valley Annual Dinner

To be held at the Jury’s Inn, Middlesbrough on Friday, 29 September the black tie event will be attended by over 150 of the area’s leading business figures.

Award-winning Olly Smith, who is the regular wine expert on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and ITV’s This Morning will entertain guests with his varied career which has included appearances on Pointless Celebrities. He has also been a judge on the International Wine Challenge and The Decanter World Wine Awards.

Earlier in his career he was a scriptwriter for TV and film including shows such as PIngu and wrote gags for Wallace & Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

He has won a range of awards including Best Drinks Writer, Great British Food Awards 2016.

James Ramsbotham, chief executive, North East England Chamber said: “We are delighted to have someone of Olly Smith’s calibre speaking at our Tees Valley Annual Dinner. He has a great track record in popular TV programmes. I’m sure he will also be sharing entertaining stories about his career as well as sharing interesting wine tips.

The headline sponsor of the dinner is Northern Skills Group and the drinks & canape reception sponsor is Durham Tees Valley Airport. The tickets are £80 per head - book your place now.