James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce, published in the Northern Echo
I am delighted to be able to start with some excellent, positive news for County Durham.
The Powered by People campaign has been launched to attract new jobs and investment to the area is a perfect combination of powerful business ambassadors, stakeholders and the local authority, working to their strengths, to achieve success.
My message of support was clear and simple. The county is full of great people across all walks of life – people who are hard-working, skilled, passionate, determined and fun. Opportunities for business investment abound in this can-do county with plentiful resources and physical space.
The focus of the marketing will be the quality of the skilled employees in the County and every business is encouraged to put forward their own stories to spread the word.
Major companies have already pledged support and highlighted their own experience and they include leading players such as Hitachi and Gestamp as well as a host of other businesses.
I urge everyone to share their own stories of how people are contributing to County Durham’s big push for growth and why businesses should come to this amazing place.
Of course, many of you reading this will know I may be biased slightly as we have our own head-quarters in Durham City. We saw the advantage for being right in the heart of our region years ago and have never doubted that decision. We have perfect transport links, a great team and stunning office views over a world heritage site.
On less positive news, I have a saying that things turn out best for people who make the best of things. Brexit is most definitely a case of our Government not making the best of things, and has consistently done so, since the referendum result.
Our members’ view is that the Prime Minister’s proposal means the Government must now do whatever is necessary to extend Article 50 to avoid leaving the European Union without a deal.
Businesses have consistently told us that No Deal is not an acceptable outcome. Our region’s strong economic links and trading relationship with the EU mean that the consequences of No Deal would cause tremendous harm.
Extending the negotiations would give Government the chance to engage with the real and practical concerns of regional employers to deliver a Brexit outcome that works for North East England.