‘Single market, devolution, and Global North East’

Mike Matthews

North East England Chamber of Commerce president Mike Matthews outlined the region’s aspiration to be a “Global North East” as he unveiled the chamber members’ 2017 Manifesto.

The manifesto set out key areas of campaign activity to improve conditions for North East companies.

They include:

  • Creating an “Influential North East” and a push for more decision-making powers to be devolved to the region and ensuring business expertise is at the heart of devolution.
  • Ensuring the North East is an integral part of the Northern Powerhouse.
  • Building on the region’s reputation as a national export leader. The Manifesto pledges to campaign for a new EU trading relationship with low cost access to the single market and greater support for trade missions.
  • Campaigning for major investment in the regional rail network, including a firm commitment to the delivery of High Speed Rail to the North East. Pushing for new air and sea links to support export and investment as well as a demand for rapid delivery of work on the A1, A19 and trans-Pennine road improvements.

Matthews, managing director of Stockton-on-Tees based automotive components manufacturer Nifco (UK), said: “Our Manifesto clearly sets out the changes our members believe will make the biggest positive impact on business success in our region.

“Last year saw some dramatic shifts in the political landscape. The outcome of the EU referendum, the appointment of a new cabinet and further devolution to parts of the region have each presented new challenges and opportunities.

“We know North East England is a great place to do business, but we want it to be the best and I believe this action plan will help make this become a reality.

“Further afield, we must aspire to be a Global North East. New and existing exporters must be supported to expand into markets across the globe and our region must attract the brightest international talent and more overseas visitors.”