Poll on EU relations

NECC has published the results of its latest poll on EU relations, showing high levels of concern about leaving the EU among North East businesses, but also strong support for transferring some powers back to the UK from Brussels. 62% of those surveyed believe there would be a negative impact from withdrawal from the EU, with only 13% predicting a positive impact. However, 61% believe there would be a positive impact from transferring some powers back to the UK from Brussels. 48% believe further integration with other EU states would be negative. Concern over withdrawal would reduce a little if a trade agreement with the bloc could be renegotiated: 47% believe withdrawal would be negative in these circumstances, while 26% would expect a positive impact.

Our comment on the results can be viewed here.

The questions will be repeated as part of our latest Quarterly Economic Survey to assess how opinions are changing. You can complete it here.

Please give your view by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing ross.smith@necc.co.uk.

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Posted in International Trade by ross.smith. No Comments

HS2 Supply Chain Conference 2014

HS2 will be holding its next Supply Chain Conference on October 17 in London and October 23 in Manchester. The conference will act as a forum to update delegates on what businesses have told HS2 during their recent market engagement exercise and is intended to inform their procurement strategy. Furthermore, the session will also include information on HS2′s skills and employment package.

Full details of the event including information on how to register your interest can be found here.

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Posted in Buy North East Economy Transport by rachel.travis. No Comments

BCC Economic Forecast September 2014

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has released its latest Economic Forecast today. This predicts:

  • UK GDP 2014 growth at +3.2% (from +3.1% in the June forecast)
  • UK GDP 2015 growth at +2.8% (from +2.7%)
  • UK GDP 2016 growth at +2.5% (unchanged)
  • First increase in official interest rates to 0.75% expected in Q1 2015.

Further details can be seen here.

These upgrades are welcome, but the forecast warns of a slowdown to come indicating growth remains over-reliant on household consumption.

NECC’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey, which helps to set these forecasts, is now available to complete here.

Please give your view by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing ross.smith@necc.co.uk.

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Posted in Economy by ross.smith. No Comments

North East and National GCSE Results

North East GCSE Results

GCSE results have been released today and the North East have done exceptionally well, the number of students receiving the top A* – A grades has increased by 0.2% from 2013, this matches London’s increase and is only beaten by Yorkshire and Humber. Nationally this grade has fallen slightly by 0.1%.

Similarly the number of North East students who received grades between A* – C was the highest of all English regions sitting at 14.6% coming very closely behind London’s result of 15%.

National results;
• 61.7% of English entries scored a C or higher this year, down 1.9 percentage points from last summer. This is believed to be the biggest drop in the qualification’s history.
• All three sciences recorded double-digit percentage declines, with biology entries down by almost a fifth (18.6%), and chemistry and physics faring little better, at 16.8% and 14.6% respectively.
• Pleasingly Math’s saw an opposite result, with 62.4% of entries gaining an A*-C grade, up a massive 4.8%.
• Engineering saw a significant increase in participants compared to 2013 with these numbers almost doubling; however it is concerning only 6.8% of those were females. This reinforces the need for a stronger focus on encouraging females into STEM sectors where nationally we have growing skills shortages. NECC is running a pilot for the Government Equalities Office aiming to do just this.

Further information is available here.

It is great to see such excellent North East results which show the region is leading the way nationally on an academic front. Nationally the results relating to English and Sciences are worrying as these subjects are core to British industry and it is important to ensure we develop young people that are competent in these areas while also attracting them to STEM specific industries.

Students now need to consider their options and both academic and vocational pathways need to be considered. With NEET numbers increasing, young people need to ensure they are equipped with the skills and workplace experience needed to secure employment. Apprenticeships represent an alternative career route to remaining within full-time education and these vocational pathways need to be promoted to young people through impartial careers advice.

To give your view, leave a comment on this blog or email lucy.humphreys@necc.co.uk

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Posted in Education & Skills by lucy.humphreys. No Comments

Inflation Dips During July

Annual Consumer Price Inflation was found to have dropped during July to 1.6% from 1.9% in June. The latest figures continues the trend of below 2.0% inflation during 2014.

The largest contribution to the fall in inflation came from an overall reduction in the price of clothing, followed by price falls in alcohol and financial services.

Please give your view by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing rachel.travis@necc.co.uk.

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Posted in Economy by rachel.travis. No Comments