Business leaders’ concerns over Government plans to aid the North East

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BUSINESS leaders have accused the Government of lacking a “coherent strategy” to pull the North East out of its economic slump.

The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) issued the warning at a meeting of the region’s Labour MPs, ahead of next Wednesday’s Budget statement.

Although the briefing pointed out that both exports and private-sector employment were up slightly, despite a “sluggish recovery” from deep recession, it also stressed that the achievements were in spite of, rather than because of, the economic direction from Downing Street.

It stated: “North East businesses are helping to rebalance the UK economy, but we await a coherent Government strategy to follow through on this commitment.”

The NECC represents more than 4,000 businesses, employing about 30 per cent of the region’s workforce.

Andrew Sugden, the NECC’s policy director, said: “Our submission is both pragmatic and realistic.”

He added: “Give us the tools to do the job and we will demonstrate what we can achieve.”