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Chamber round up October 2017


See our recent news updates on our response to the Chancellor's statement, apprenticeship funding, response to Theresa May's speech and Brexit.

Chamber response to Chancellor's statement

Jonathan Walker, North East England Chamber of Commerce head of policy and campaigns said: “It’s heartening that the Chancellor is using his conference speech to draw attention to transport investment in the North, but the fact is the sums involved in today’s announcement remain relatively modest for infrastructure investment of this type, and the projects funded ought to be considered business as usual. Of course the benefits of HS2 should be spread beyond the new track and across the North; of course local road upgrades are needed to tackle congestion. More investment is always a positive, but we’re still waiting for the kind of grand, transformative vision which could make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.

”With regard to housing, continuing Help to Buy is positive, giving some certainty for the future to the sector. But, in the North, affordability isn’t our problem, it’s the drive for jobs and growth. There is a limit to what Help to Buy can do for us, while the Department for Communities and Local Government is moving the goalposts with a new methodology to reduce the North’s housing need, making it harder for us to reach our ambitions.”

Research shows businesses need more advice on apprenticeship funding

Six months from the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, businesses need more support about how best to use apprenticeships funding, according to a North East England Chamber of Commerce survey released on Friday 29 September.

The annual workforce survey found that over half (56%) of firms in the North East have no understanding of the Apprenticeship Levy or don’t know how their company will respond to it.

Businesses with a pay-bill of less than £3m fall under the levy threshold but can still apply for apprentice funding, yet the findings of the survey show that only 32% of all companies in the region have recruited apprentices in the past 12 months.

Paul Carbert, Chamber policy adviser said: “The current upheaval in the technical education and apprenticeship system will take time for firms to understand and adapt to. The government must ensure that businesses and training providers have certainty over the future direction of apprenticeships policy and funding, to allow them to invest in quality workforce training.” ... continue to read.

Other Chamber articles that have recently been in the press

Chamber reaction to Theresa May's speech on the EU in Florence

“Theresa May’s speech hopefully represents a step forward in the negotiations." ... continue to read.

Chamber members get Brexit update

North East England Chamber of Commerce members met with Steve Baker MP, Minister for the Department for Exiting the EU in Newcastle to get an update on Brexit plans.

Jonathan Walker, head of policy and campaigns, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “This meeting was a good opportunity to speak directly to one of the Ministers implementing Brexit ... continue to read.