Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Councillors Upbeat on Economic Prospects; REPORT REVEALS NEW FIRMS OPENING UP DESPITE BREXIT

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Councillors Upbeat on Economic Prospects; REPORT REVEALS NEW FIRMS OPENING UP DESPITE BREXIT

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEX METCALFE newsdesk@reachplc.com @EveningGazette

COUNCIL leaders were upbeat about the economic prospects of Stockton despite "uncertainty" over Brexit.

An economic summary placed before Stockton Council cabinet sparked a friendly reception from council leaders on Thursday.

Jobs, Brexit and enterprising youngsters were all discussed at the meeting as members thumbed through the latest fiscal report in the borough.

PRIDE OVER JOBS The report prepared for the meeting revealed how 272 workers had been employed on the Hampton by Hilton hotel development at the Riverside, with more than 80% of those employed sourced from 50 miles of the site.

Cllr Cooke was very happy with the numbers. The cabinet member for housing and regeneration said: "I am proud to be a cabinet member in a local authority that has a commitment to providing local jobs to local people.

"I think we need to shout about that."

VIEW FROM THE TOP Leader Cllr Bob Cook said there were some "good bits and pieces" in the report as well as some "bad news"for retail outlets.

He said: "We've seen some retail outlets closing down - not because it's Stockton, it's because national retail is on a down trend for some of the bigger retail outlets.

"Growing our own retail is paying dividends for the town."

NEW BUSINESSES The report also pointed to 18 new businesses operating in Stockton town centre.

Jane Edmends, housing services manager at the council, said the new retail businesses were operating in Stockton "as a direct result" of support provided by the council. She also pointed to "advice and support" the authority had offered to 339 new and existing businesses.

THE SPECTRE OF BREXIT Brexit was brought up by Cllr Paul Rowling, who asked what effect it might have on the borough.

Cllr Cooke's short answer was he didn't know.

He added: "Whether you support Brexit or not it's a time of great uncertainty.

"There is so much of this that we do not know - all we can do is try and prepare for the unknowns and this report says we are in a very good place. …

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