North East Culture Partnership survey

The North East Culture Partnership is asking businesses to complete a survey on the links between culture and business in the region. The Partnership has been established to enable the North East’s local authorities, arts and culture organisations, businesses and education to work together to support culture, which has helped transform the physical image of the North East and support a healthier economy.

The survey will help identify how businesses already engage with culture, and views on how this could be expanded. It can be completed here. The deadline is 20 October and respondents will be entered into a prize draw to win four tickets for a performance of their choice at The Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

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Trade Minister speech to NECC

Trade Minister Lord Livingston today spoke to NECC members at a President’s Club lunch. He praised the North East’s export performance, noting the region’s consistently positive balance of trade in goods. He stressed the importance of rebalancing the UK economy with regard to international trade, sectors and regions, and highlighted the need for more regional decision making in the wake of the Scottish referendum, but without creating new levels of government. Lord Livingston referred to specific measures to improve export support, focusing on medium-sized businesses, e-commerce, trade fairs, and embassy staff. He spoke up in support of international free trade, giving a strong defence of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

In response to questions from NECC members, Lord Livingston stated his support for the UK remaining in a reformed European Union, and agreed on the need for greater infrastructure investment, including a clear decision on airport capacity.

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


Conservative Party Conference

NECC this week attended the Conservative Party conference. We co-hosted a reception focusing on the North East economy with NECC Partner Northumbrian Water and the Association of North East Councils, presenting policy changes needed in a range of areas to support our region’s success. Hexham MP Guy Opperman and Berwick candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan both spoke, covering the need for strong regional decision making and infrastructure investment. Further details can be seen here.

During our visit there we also discussed the response in the North East to the Scottish referendum with Cities Minister Greg Clark, raised transport issues with Transport Minister Robert Goodwill and took part in a series of meetings with MPs, ministers and advisers covering exports, energy, skills and small business growth.

In the main conference, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech stressing the need to continue tackling the deficit in the UK’s public finances. However, he pledged a series of personal tax cuts in the next Parliament and to keep corporate taxes the lowest in the G20.

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


UK Trade July 2014

The latest UK trade figures for July have been released:

Goods and Services

  • The UK deficit of trade in goods and services for July 2014 was £3.3 billion, compared with £2.5 billion in June 2014.

Goods only

  • The deficit on trade in goods was £10.2 billion in July 2014, the widest monthly deficit since April 2012; despite a £0.5 billion rise in exports.
  • July 2014 saw the exports of goods increased by £0.5 billion to £24.0 billion.
  • Exports to countries outside of the EU accounted for roughly 95% of this total increase.
  • Over the same period, imports of goods increased by £1.3 billion to £34.2 billion reflecting increases in imports of fuels and chemicals.
  • Imports of goods for the same period rose to £34.2 billion.

Services only

  • The UK’s estimated surplus on trade in services was £6.8 billion.

It is positive to see that exports rose between June and July 2014 and interesting to see that this was mainly due to demand outside the EU which shows businesses are looking to explore new markets.  However it is disappointing that the trade deficit widened again this month as well as a significant increase in imports, its highest level since October 2013 and the largest monthly increase since August 2012.  A large proportion of this was due to fuel but it is concerning that £0.4 billion of this increase is related to manufacturing.  This reliance on imports for this sector further reinforces the need for government to promote and encourage British manufacturing and offer more support to that sector to encourage a made in Britain culture as this will be key to our country’s future economic success.

To find out more or to give your views please get in contact by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing



NECC Quarterly Economic Survey Briefing Event

NECC is hosting one of its flagship Quarterly Economic Survey briefing breakfast’s for members on 10 October at our head office in Durham.  The event will commence at 08:00 and conclude at 10:00am. 

NECC’s Quarterly Economic Survey is the biggest regular business survey in the North East and part of the biggest national survey of businesses conducted as part of the wider British Chambers of Commerce network.  It is used to inform policy decisions by organisations such as HM Treasury and The Bank of England. 

Results for Q3 will be available from 9 October and initial analysis demonstrates that North East businesses are continuing what so far has been a positive year.

To book your free place at our breakfast briefing please contact