Chamber wants region to be Fit for the Future

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THE NORTH East’s leading business organisation has unveiled its vision for a brighter tomorrow.

“Fit for the Future” is the North East Chamber of Commerce’s report on the infrastructure priorities that will help localbusinesses increase their exports.

The report has been compiled in co-operation with a cross-section of the region’s business community.

Chief executive James Ramsbotham, said: “The North East is the only region in the UK with a positive balance of trade in the export market. We are an example of what the UK as a whole is striving to achieve.

“Fit for the Future is not a begging letter, it is a business proposal.

“This is our pitch as a region to say look at what we are achieving with the least infrastructure investment in the entire country. Give us the tools we require and let us show you how much more we could be doing for the economy.

“The region has the capacity to take the strain from congested and expensive parts of the UK. We are blessed with an embarrassment of riches in terms of resources, transport links, digital and energy infrastructure, but we must find a way to maximise our undoubted potential.”

The North East has the capacity to nurture sustainable growth. Other areas of the UK, particularly the South East, are approaching capacity which means demand for infrastructure and resources will place questions over economic sustainability and security.

Fit for the Future identifies four key areas of infrastructure and sets out a series of recommendations that will help to ensure North East economic growth is supported by a continually evolving world class infrastructure.

The four key areas are: resources infrastructure: transport infrastructure: digital infrastructure: and energy infrastructure.

Mr Ramsbotham stressed the need for public and private sector co-operation.

“The private sector, the generators of wealth and jobs, must increase collaboration with and influence over decision making at the local level to ensure limited investment is directed to the schemes that have the greatest economic rather than political merit.

“Local Enterprise Partnerships play a crucial role in ensuring that certain assets are given the recognition and protection that they deserve.”