North East business leaders will look to the Government to soften the economic impact of leaving the EU.
North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Andrew Hodgson said: “Last night the people of the North East clearly voted to leave the European Union (EU).
“The North East LEP is committed to improving the economic success of the North East irrespective of the political landscape. We are very aware of the many ways in which this region has benefited from being a member of the EU.
“This has included access to European trade and investment and European funding, which has helped to regenerate our towns and cities, support business growth and investment in science and support many of our rural stakeholders including farmers.
“We will be seeking assurances from the Government that it will help us reduce the impact of leaving the single market in terms of funding, jobs and investment.
“The North East is the only UK region with a positive balance of trade. Working with our public and private sector partners our focus must be on maintaining this status quo and supporting those who will be most affected by the decision to leave.
“We have a very clear Strategic Economic Plan. It is now more important than ever that our entire community commits to increasing its skills base and creating more businesses, whilst taking more local control of our choices by supporting regional devolution.”
The financial markets went into meltdown after this morning’s result, as more than £100billion was wiped off the FTSE within minutes of the Stock Exchange opening and the pound crashed 8% against the dollar.
North East Chmaber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham said: "A significant number of our members are worried about the impact of leaving.
"The focus for us now is to ensure these business concerns are addressed. It is vital the Government ensures minimal disruption to trade and investment as the process of change begins.
"We also need to see measures to reassure businesses on issues such as access to overseas talent and the future of regional funding streams.
“We have an export record which is the strongest in the whole country and this must not be compromised as the decision to leave becomes a reality.
"The Government must now secure the best possible ongoing relationship with Europe and the rest of the world to enable sustained business growth in our region.”
Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the chamber’s Wearside Committee and the Sunderland Business Group, said: “We now face a period of unprecedented uncertainty follow the result of the vote to exit the EU and we are already seeing the volatility in the financial markets, which an out vote was always anticipated to bring.
“The ramifications for the city, the region and the country as a whole will be enormous and there are many factors to consider over the coming months as the negotiations commence in preparation for the exit.
“What is clear is that, here in Sunderland, we must ensure that we do everything we can to protect the economy, our businesses and our residents.
“The NECC and Sunderland Business Group will work with and for our members in the coming months and we must ensure that we remain calm and measured in this intervening period, working through this new position for the UK in a logical manner”.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “The British people’s vote to leave the EU is a momentous turning point in our history. The country has spoken and it’s for us all to listen.
“Many businesses will be concerned and need time to assess the implications. But they are used to dealing with challenge and change and we should be confident they will adapt.
“The urgent priority now is to reassure the markets. We need strong and calm leadership from the government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy.
“The choices we make over the coming months will affect generations to come. This is not a time for rushed decisions.
“The CBI will be consulting its members and business is committed to working with Government to shape the best possible conditions for future prosperity.”
More than £100 billion was wiped off the FTSE 100 within minutes as markets opened on Friday as Britain’s decision to leave the European Union causes turmoil across global exchanges.
London’s premier index plunged 458 points to 5,880 - down 7.19% - as experts warned of more carnage to come.
The pound also crashed 8% against the dollar, falling from 1.50 US dollars to 1.36.
Banks bore the brunt of the fall, with Barclays down 27%, Royal Bank of Scotland down 28% and Lloyds taking a 24% dive.
Dennis de Jong, managing director of UFX.com, said: “This is simply unprecedented. The pound has fallen off a cliff and the FTSE is now following suit. Britain’s EU referendum has been a cloud hanging over the global economy for the past few months and that cloud has got very dark this morning.
“The markets despise uncertainty, yet that is exactly what they’re faced with this morning. The shockwaves are likely to reverberate for some time and the warning lights are flashing brighter now than ever.”