The managing director of an expanding soft furnishings business, based in Cramlington, has called for the Chancellor to recognise the North East business community’s “hunger to grow” when he makes his Autumn Statement.
Mark Dolder of The Bazaar Group - named Small Business of the Year and winner in the ICT category at The Journal’s North East Business Awards 2014 - said infrastructure improvements were particularly important if the region was fulfil its potential.
“The announcement on the dualling of the A1 is a positive step in the right direction - I would hope that the Autumn Statement sees the government continue to make clear strides towards driving the North East economy forward,” he said.
“We have been promised world-class infrastructure; therefore, the improvement of our transport system should be complemented with further investment, focussing on changes that support small businesses looking to expand.
“This is where job creation and sustainable economic recovery can stem from - we have a goal to create 15 new jobs by end of 2015, and to do so we will be focussing on growing existing markets as well as reaching new markets.
“As a manufacture and retail business based in Cramlington that services customers across the UK and Europe, the development of infrastructure is vital to our growth.
“This includes road, rail, air and of course superfast broadband.
“A world class infrastructure would not only help us compete better on a national scale but internationally.”
He added that the firm had carriers that go directly to and from distribution hubs in the Midlands.
Delays caused by the likes of road works hit not only operational costs but the firm’s competitiveness.
“The North East is also a leading light in international trade – we’re the only region in the country with a positive balance of payments in exports,” Mr Dolder said.
“Therefore it’s only fair that we would want an even playing field.
“In order for us to continue to drive the national economy, we require a clearer focus from Government on the level of investment and most importantly, how money should be spent.
“It’s never been a more important time for these issues to be revised and responded to as we run the genuine risk of suffering as a result of being sandwiched between Scotland’s devolution, and the intent to grow the M62 economy.
“Ultimately, I hope that the Autumn Statement recognises the North East business community’s hunger to grow and makes a commitment to supporting us – allowing us to build on our positive GDP, experience the same rate of recovery as other areas of the country and provide a defensible economic future for our vibrant region.”