Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chamber Challenges Region's Civic Chiefs; More to Be Done to Attract Investment

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chamber Challenges Region's Civic Chiefs; More to Be Done to Attract Investment

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

AGUIDE to growing the North East economy has been produced by businesses as pressure mounts on council chiefs to do more to attract investment in the region.

City leaders are today urged to explain how they will act to secure cash in 2012 and beyond as funding continues to dry up. The North East Chamber of Commerce has produced a detailed look at the transport, internet and energy needs of the region.

Chamber chief executive James Ramsbotham said the report "is not a begging letter" but a way of setting out how to build on the region's success as an exporter. Pulling no punches, the report's authors say the North East has developed "a reputation for indecisiveness in prioritising transport investment" which it must change.

City leaders are told they must identify "a short and realistic set of priorities that unlock the greatest economic benefits for the largest number of people and businesses". With the public sector suffering gruelling spending cuts, the Chamber has called on the region's major employers to lead the way, putting pressure on civic chiefs to prioritise according to needs identified by big business.

Mr Ramsbotham added: "The private sector, the generators of wealth and jobs, must increase collaboration with and influence over decision making at the local level to ensure that limited investment is directed to the schemes that have the greatest economic rather than political merit.

"Local Enterprise Partnerships play a crucial role in ensuring that certain assets are given the recognition and protection that they deserve owing to their important economic role."

Last night South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm said he backed the Chamber. Mr Malcolm has frequently been at the forefront of calls to prioritise the need for improvements to be made to junctions along the A19, citing the regional benefit of a free-flowing North-South route. …

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