Autumn Statement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer revealed his Autumn Statement today with several pro-business measures aimed at increasing economic growth for UK Plc.  Against the backdrop of a looming general election and enduring challenges in maintaining the public finances there was as ever little room for manoeuvre.

Headline announcements included changes to stamp duty banding, reforms to air passenger duty, increased funding for exporters and a series of measures geared towards assisting smaller businesses.

Also welcome was an announcement that students seeking to undertake post-graduate study will now, for the first time, be able to access student loans of up to £10,000 to assist with studies.  Added to the abolition of national insurance payments on under-25 apprentice employees these announcements will support the up-skilling of young people in a meaningful way.

NECC is pleased that the Government will now review the business rates system and it is vital that no reform is ruled out given the business rating system is well overdue reform.  However, we have already had one review this year and businesses will hope to see something more meaningful this time around – especially given the Chancellor announced further increases in business rates during today’s statement. Unabated increases to business rates hinder job and wealth creation.

To view the Autumn Statement document please click here. If you have any questions please leave a comment on this blog or e-mail


Meeting with Prime Minister as A1 upgrade announced

NECC met Prime Minister David Cameron this morning as he came to the North East to announce an upgrade of the A1 in Northumberland. The road will be dualled from Morpeth to Ellingham as part of a series of transport announcements made today. NECC has long campaigned for the road to be upgraded and it was a central part of our Autumn Statement submission. We welcomed today’s announcement, but also asked for a further plan to continue the work to the Scottish border.

In today’s meeting, which also included Berwick Conservative candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan and was held at NECC member Ferguson Transport, we also raised issues from last week’s proposals on further Scottish devolution, including our concerns about air passenger duty.

Please give your view by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing

Posted in Transport by ross.smith. No Comments

Northern Chambers response to ‘One North’ proposal

Six Chambers of Commerce in the North of England, including NECC, have responded to the ‘One North’ proposals on transport put forward by a group of local authorities. The original proposals were a pitch for £15bn investment in better connecting the North, issued by five councils including Newcastle. They were welcomed by Chancellor George Osborne amid hopes he will begin to address this in his forthcoming Autumn Statement.

The paper states the Chambers’ support for the concept and sets out the essential principles we wish to see built upon. NECC believes there are still important details to be addressed, including ensuring the important role of North East airports is well recognised. However, we believe the opportunity to deliver major investment in the North East and wider North should be seized. The full response can be seen here.

Please give your view by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing


Posted in Transport by ross.smith. No Comments

Airports Commission Consultation

The Airports Commission has published for consultation its assessment of proposals for additional runway capacity at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.  The consultation presents the commission’s analysis of the proposals shortlisted by the commission last year with two for expansion at Heathrow Airport and one proposal at Gatwick Airport.

It invites public comment on the commission’s detailed consideration of each proposal. This includes analysis of the cost of each proposal, the effect on communities of noise, property loss and construction, and the economic benefits and environmental impacts.

NECC is supportive of runway expansion at Heathrow which plays a huge role for North East business as well as tourists travelling to and from the region. Having recently wrote to the Commission on behalf of 20 Chambers of Commerce all supportive of Heathrow expansion NECC will be responding in order to once again set out the case for Heathrow based on the role it plays for regional airports such as Newcastle International.  To view the consultation documents please click here. The consultation closes 3 February 2015.

To contribute your views to the NECC submission please contact

Posted in Economy Transport by mark.stephenson. No Comments

Survey on JEREMIE2 finance programme

NECC members are asked to give their view on how the JEREMIE2 investment scheme should operate in the North East. JEREMIE is a European Investment Bank-backed programme that has supported business growth in the North East through a series of funds investing almost £110m since 2010. The next phase of this is now being drawn up and the project team, including both LEPs in the region, would like to know business views and experiences. You can complete the survey here.

Posted in Finance by ross.smith. No Comments