Planning Is Key to Business Survival; Analysis in Association with RBS It Is Time for the Journal's Late Examining Business Sentiment the North East. Once Again We Newcastle Business School, Pa University, to Survey Key Execu Biggest Companies, as Listed in Publication. as the Region Battl Doom and Gloom That Has Dogged Financial Markets AC Last Six Months, Andrew Mernin Reports

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WITH the region still smarting from the Northern Rock crisis and global financial turmoil continuing to dent customer confidence and profits, there's no doubt the North East - like the rest of the UK - faces an uncertain future.

However a region which has soared from the ashes of great heavy industries like mining and shipbuilding is unlikely to let a little thing like an impending recession dampen its spirits. And so our Business Barometer proves.

We asked companies from a vast range of sectors whether worldwide financial turmoil had affected their business, and almost half answered "Not at all".

And, despite the threat of a downfall in a number of key UK markets, almost 70% of business leaders said they were expecting turnover to increase in the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, our jobs market is also expected to swell, with more than 40% of employers expecting to boost their workforce in the coming year. We spoke to three business leaders about their own experiences in the tough economy and their hopes for the next 12 months.

Sunderland social housing specialist Gentoo is well-equipped to navigate through the choppy seas ahead according to deputy chief executive Andrew Taylor. The firm, formerly known as the Sunderland Housing Group, sells and rents properties and so is likely to be at the forefront of any upcoming turbulence in the housing sector.

Mr Taylor believes the company will survive the tough economic climate because it has planned ahead. …