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Regional Unity Essential to Future Growth

 

The region's largest business membership organisation is calling for a united front to drive forward economic growth and end the North East's over-reliance on the public sector.

John Mowbray, NECC President; Alan Ferguson, NECC Chairman and James Ramsbotham, NECC Chief Executive at the eighteenth NECC Annual General MeetingThe region's largest business membership organisation is calling for a united front to drive forward economic growth and end the North East's over-reliance on the public sector.

North East Chamber of Commerce President, John Mowbray, used his address at the organisation's Annual General Meeting to highlight links forged across the sectors and stress how only through working together will the region thrive after the recession.

"The region has something of a split personality," said Mr Mowbray. "On one hand we boast all the best bits of the economy - we thrive in manufacturing and engineering, particularly in automotive and the oil and gas sectors, and remain the only region with a positive balance of trade in exports.

"However, we also have a disproportionate over-reliance on the public sector and have been hit incredibly hard by the Government's austerity purge.

"The onus has been placed on the business community to pick up the slack from these cutbacks and while we have had a great deal of success across the private sector in the past 12 months, it is almost impossible to keep pace with the impact of what has been happening across public organisations.

"NECC's membership has held firm through these challenging times and we remain committed to further developing the Chamber's role as a powerful voice for business in the region and to continue doing this we need more organisations to get behind us and work alongside us because together the North East is stronger."

The region has seen a host of large-scale positive business announcements from the likes of Nissan, SSI, Offshore group Newcastle and Calsonic Kansei this year, which is in stark contrast to the economy's recent double-dip into recession.

NECC Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, said:

"A great deal of progress has been made over the past 12 months establishing partnerships between the region's public and private sector, highlighted by the rising optimism for the future among the NECC members.

"These links are vital if we are to build on the positive news from some of our blue chip companies and continue to grow our economy. NECC is working closely with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, councils, schools universities and colleges as well as businesses in our own membership to help ensure the region's approach to economic health is as joined up as it can be.

"By working together we can demonstrate that the North East is not a problem for the rest of the UK to solve, rather an unrealised asset that has yet to reach its full potential."

Winner of the Innovation Award at the North East Business Awards, Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) managing director Paul Stonebanks provided the keynote speech at the AGM.

Mr Stonebanks, who was also a national finalist at the British Chambers of Commerce's 2011 Chamber Awards, discussed the rise and success of AIS, the company he founded back in 2006, which is a leading provider of industrial solutions to the oil, gas, renewable energy and process industries supplying and installing of specialist thermal insulation products, in addition to being a provider of specialist on and off-shore training.