THE North East needs a united front to drive forward economic growth and reduce the over-reliance on the public sector, says the man at the head of the region’s biggest business organisation.
North East Chamber of Commerce president John Mowbray told the organisation’s annual general meeting only working together could help the region thrive.
“The region has something of a split personality,” he said.
“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.”
Chief executive James Ramsbotham said North East businesses needed to shout about the region’s success stories.
“I don’t believe the North East economy is a problem the rest of the country needs to solve – rather, it is an asset,” he said.
“The Government is beginning to realise what an asset the North East really is.”