Chamber Chief Executive, in his latest column for The Journal.
I make no apology for starting the year with a passionate appeal to Government to give us a vision for the future of our country.
Whether we were for or against Brexit is now immaterial. We have our destiny in our own hands, so what are going to do with it?
In 2020 there was much talk of ‘getting Brexit done’ as if it was the end of something instead of the beginning of our new relationship with the EU.
For our country to get back on its feet we must have a route map to what the purpose was of Brexit. It was championed as a goal in itself when in reality it was the mechanism to take back control, but not able to achieve anything on its own.
I would argue Brexit has actually shut more doors than it is likely to open.
The duty to show leadership is not only at a national level. We also need local leaders to pick up the challenge and show us the positive direction of travel for businesses and communities.
There is no doubt our country is in an extremely challenging situation with Covid and Brexit, which makes our need for strong, clear leadership even more important.
We need this direction to inspire people and give them confidence in their futures.
As a Chamber we know there are many world class businesses in the region, who work tirelessly to grow and develop their products and services. They have our support to tackle any of the challenges that come their way.
Earlier this week we began promoting Great Reasons to do Business in the North East. It is important we remind ourselves of the fantastic assets here, from the Newcastle Helix and Wearside’s IAMP to the NE LEP’s 31 enterprise zones and the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing in Newcastle, a £40m development.
We have so much to build on and feel proud about in our region.
There have been many columns over the past few months which talked about the importance of levelling up the country, enabling us to use our strengths more fully.
It has never been more urgent we are given the right decisions and investment to let our region create a strong economy, exploit our potential and blaze a trail.
I wish everyone all the best for 2021 and sincerely hope my own wish for clear leadership comes true.