Businesses join forces on North East coronavirus recovery plan

Businesses are working together on a plan to get the North East economy back up and running after the coronavirus lockdown.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 5:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 12:07 pm

The North East England Chamber of Commerce is working with major employers on a plan aimed at ensuring the economy is in the best possible shape to bounce back from Covid19.

Members involved include Northumbrian Water, Thirteen Group, Gateshead College, Womble Bond Dickinson, Banks Group, Newcastle Building Society and Lichfields.

Chamber chief executive James Ramsbotham said: “We understand fully North East businesses are facing tremendous difficulties right now, but we all have also to keep our eyes looking forward. It is imperative if we are to get through this current challenge that we know, as far as possible, what we need to do to hit the ground running after this crisis has eased.

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James Ramsbotham and Louise Hunter

“It is extremely important that as a region we all work together closely. Now more than ever we need our local authorities, businesses, public sector stakeholders and MPs to join forces to create the very best conditions for every company to not just survive but thrive post Covid19.

Northumbrian Water director of corporate affairs Louise Hunter said: “At this critical time in our regional economy it is has never been more important that we stay connected as a business community. This work will help us all to understand the wider regional and UK context and will enable us to gain insights from, and ask questions of, key decision makers.”

The moves comes as the latest employment figures – from before the coronavirus lockdown began – show employment in the North East at 1,221,000 or 72.5% - an increase of 15,000 over the quarter and 23,000 over the year. Jonathan Walker, Chamber assistant director of policy, said: “The latest relatively positive employment statistics were drawn from data before the coronavirus had such a severe impact on our economy.

“Our primary concern now is the next set of results which will lay bare the stark picture of how the current challenges have damaged our region.”

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