Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Who Can Do the Business?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Who Can Do the Business?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ian McNeal

The economy, as ever, remains a vital election issue.Teesside's own business sector has developed rapidly in recent years with the emergence of new call centre and office industries.

Meanwhile the area's industrial past still looms large with recent announcements by Corus and Huntsman securing Teesside's steel and chemical industries for at least the next decade. But the area's manufacturing industry has felt the effects of globalisation with a steady stream of factory closures from Samsung Electronics to Rothmans, while unemployment remains above the national average.

Business Reporter IAN McNEAL looks at what the three major parties are offering Teesside industry.

LABOUR

LABOUR is proud of its economic success over the past eight years which has seen a stable economy comprising low unemployment, low inflation and low interest rates, which it says has created 300,000 more businesses than when the party came to power in 1997.

It says increased powers for Regional Development Agencies such as One NorthEast is building stronger regional economies, and there has been support for small firms through organisations such as the Small Business Service.

It adds it has also cut corporation tax to its lowest ever levels and that innovation has been encouraged through research and development tax credits.

Barrister Vera Baird QC, Labour MP for Redcar, said: "Economic stability has helped Corus secure the future of its Teesside steelworks for the next ten years.

"We have also set out a strategy for manufacturing to support local industry and this is seen most notably in the pounds 16.5m regional selective assistance grant given to Huntsman to support their investment, which is a triumph for Teesside.

"We are also placing a huge emphasis on skills training which is being made readily available to businesses to improve the skills of their workforce."

CONSERVATIVE

THE Conservatives say more must be done to relieve the red tape burden on Teesside firms. …

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