Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

FIRMS UNEASY AFTER REPORT; but Public Sector Needs to Be Leaner

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

FIRMS UNEASY AFTER REPORT; but Public Sector Needs to Be Leaner

Article excerpt

Byline: KELLEY PRICE;KRYSTA EAVES

BUSINESS leaders today said public sector job cuts posed a major problem for the region's economy.

A new report has revealed public sector job losses and business failures will hit Middlesbrough harder than any other place in the country.

New research commissioned by the BBC puts Middlesbrough as the weakest of 324 council areas to be able to withstand the economic turmoil being caused by public sector spending cuts. Redcar and Cleveland was only five places better in 319th spot while Hartlepool was 316th and Darlington was 260th. Stockton was the best placed of the five unitary councils in the Teesside area at 252nd.

Peter Broome, director of Middlesbrough-based developer Python Properties, who also chairs the Middlesbrough branch of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said while the cut backs were of huge concern for the local economy, there was also a need for the public sector to become leaner and more efficient.

"The private sector has been through a painful process in the last three years with cutbacks and job cuts," he said. "But I think there is a lot of waste within the public sector -where reductions could be made. Public sector cut backs could be extremely deep and pose a potentially huge problem for us. But this region is one that is resilient to change."

David Longstaff, regional organiser for the Federation of Small Businesses in the North-east, said: "The region's private sector is too small. It's being forced to expand now, rather than expand naturally.

"We would urge the Government to re-think the number of jobs to be axed inMiddlesbrough, we are deeply concerned that the losses can't be absorbed by the private sector.

"We would encourage those people that are made redundant to start up small businesses and turn a negative into a positive. A lot of great ideas come from the North-east and we will be working with individuals that are made redundant to upskill them and help turn their business dreams into reality. …

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