Housing Task Group Meeting

Earlier this week, the Task Group overseeing our housing project with NECC Partner member Watson Burton LLP met to discuss the key opportunities and barriers to the North East’s housing market.

The Group – chaired by Tracy Hall (Partner at Watson Burton LLP) – brings together representatives with a range of expertise and knowledge from across the housing sector. The Group discussed a range of issues including:

  • Funding for housing developers;
  • Mortgage availability;
  • The challenges of the planning system; and
  • How to communicate the benefits of housing to address local opposition.

The meeting also acted as a forum to introduce a survey we are currently conducting to canvas our members’ views on: the performance of the region’s housing market; the role of housing to the local economy; and the barriers to development. Please give your views on this important topic by completing the survey by following this link.

For further information on the project please email rachel.travis@necc.co.uk.

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£400m to fund growth for British Innovation

The Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency – earlier this month published its blueprint for growth, which outlines investments of over £400 million in British innovation. This supports an ambitious plan for developing and nurturing the very best of British entrepreneurial talent and coincides with the launch of two new Catapult Centres in precision medicine and energy systems which takes the total of catapult centres across Britain to 7.  In addition to this there will also be the establishment of a permanent presence in Brussels to champion British innovation abroad.

The significant funding pot will be spent on 88 new competitions, designed to find and fund top innovative ideas, key investment areas include:
• £82 million to energy
• £80 million will go to programmes in the healthcare sector
• £72 million to support initiatives in high value manufacturing
• £70 million to transport £42 million for digital technologies.
It is great that government recognise the importance of innovation in driving the UK economy and making sure we stay competitive in an ever changing technology based world. The North East is world leading in innovation we are famous for the birth of the railways but did you know windscreen wipers were invented in our region back in 1908? NECC recognises the need to celebrate the best of North East innovation and also identify what support is out there for innovative companies and what more needs to be done. As part of this we are currently running a project focusing on North East innovation.

If your company is particularly innovative and you want to get involved please email innovation@necc.co.uk for more information.

 

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Give Your Vote to Secure North East £1m in Advertising

NECC is calling on all businesses to help lead our region to securing £1m in advertising at Heathrow Airport – one of the world’s busiest airports and a gateway for 13m travellers who visit the UK regions annually.

Heathrow, along with partner Visit Britain, has opened a competition with four pictures from around the Great Britain shortlisted on the Heathrow Facebook page to represent their respective regions.  A stunning image of Hadrian’s Wall at Housesteads represents the North East. The public is invited to vote for their favourite image by “liking” it.

To vote go to the Heathrow Facebook page, open the picture and “like” the picture of Hadrian’s Wall.  The picture or region with the most “likes” as of 4 August will secure the £1m in advertising which will enable a far greater breadth of the region to be showcased.  In the vote, which opened yesterday, the North East is currently leading but will require further support to win the competition.

Please feel free to share this with colleagues, friends and family to help ensure the North East does not miss this valuable opportunity.

Please contact mark.stephenson@necc.co.uk if you have any questions.

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Give us your views on the North East’s housing market

NECC and Partner member Watson Burton LLP are running  a survey to canvas our members’ views on the region’s housing market as part of a wider project to assess demand for greater levels of  housing development in the North East.

The survey is currently open to all members with interests in the housing sector to canvas your opinion:

  • How the region’s housing market is performing;
  • The importance of the sector to the regional economy;
  • Barriers to development; and
  • The North East’s role within the wider housing agenda.

If you could please complete the survey, which should take no more than 10 minutes, it would be greatly appreciated. This will provide invaluable data and insights as we formulate our policy recommendations for how and why the North East should capitalise on its potential for development. Our research and findings will be presented in a report later this year.

Further detail of the project can be found here. If you have any questions or would like more information please email rachel.travis@necc.co.uk. 

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International Trade Survey results

The British Chambers of Commerce have today released the results of a major survey looking at barriers facing potential exporters. In total more than 4,700 businesses responded including a large proportion of NECC members.

Summary of results
• While 89% of North East businesses have ambitions to grow domestically, less than half of firms (46%) have ambitions to grow internationally.
• More than half of businesses (54%) said overseas trade was not critical to their business in the coming 12 months.
• Of the additional 21 ‘high-growth markets’ identified by UK Trade and Investment (41 in total) Japan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan and Hungary are perceived as providing the greatest opportunities for growth in the next five years.
• 50% of current North East exporters are currently exporting to none of the ‘high-growth markets’.
• 42% of potential exporters surveyed said they would like to see more investment in export support services
• 28% of business said that access to agents and distributors was holding back their ability to increase export sales, while 21% said it was down to lack of funding.
• 19% of exporters said that their company’s profitability had risen between 6-10%, while 17% said they had seen profits rise by 11-25%.

This survey backs up what we are also seeing in our own Quarterly Economic Surveys, that the businesses operating in exports markets are reaping the rewards with increased sales and orders, but we do need more businesses to explore foreign shores.

If we are serious about rebalancing our economy, we must invest even more in supporting and promoting international trade. Government intervention must be more focused in areas that can really make a difference, such as providing greater access to finance to growing firms – particularly when a quarter of non-exporters say that increased funding would encourage them to export.

NECC is working in partnership with UKTI and the global Chambers of Commerce network to develop worldwide “soft landings” for members. This is providing British companies entering new markets with practical advice, support and new business connections.

To find out more or to give your views please get in contact by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing lucy.humphreys@necc.co.uk

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