Chancellor urged to back offshore wind hopes

BUSINESS leaders want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to use the Budget to back offshore wind hopes in the region.

Wind turbines

BUSINESS leaders want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to use the Budget to back offshore wind hopes in the region.

The North East Chamber of Commerce has written to George Osborne urging him to do more to help private firms as his cuts threaten thousands of public sector jobs.

Business leaders have said, via the Chamber, that Government changes to various renewable energy incentives are costing the North East money and hindering its success.

They call for an end to the “uncertainty” which is delaying investment and preventing more jobs being created.

Martyn Pellew, president of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “The time for rhetoric has long passed us by.

“This has to be a budget of action, a budget of economic stimulation, a budget that will deliver the platform that will enable businesses to grow faster and create the wealth and jobs the country desperately needs.

“The North East offers a platform for the Government to achieve its aims and has the capacity to play a much more influential role in the growth of UK plc, but it needs the right stimulus to achieve it.”

The Chamber also wants a rethink of air passenger duty, which it says hits regional airports such as Newcastle International harder than those in London. Meanwhile, Tony Sarginson, pictured, of EEF in the North East said: “Manufacturers in the North East have picked up this year where they left off in 2010, with output growing and little sign that the export led recovery is about to dry up in the near term.

“However, the picture for the rest of 2011 still remains uncertain as a number of economic head winds persist and the potential impact of new geopolitical tensions adds another layer of uncertainty to economic forecasts.

“Companies in the North East continue to be cautious about committing to large, game-changing investments, which will ultimately support the right type of growth across the UK economy.

“Government must recognise that an ongoing recovery cannot now be taken for granted and use every club in the bag to sweep away barriers to growth in the Budget.”

CBI urges focus

THE Chancellor must show "a relentless focus on growth to help get the United Kingdom working again" in his next Budget, a leading business group urged today.

The CBI has outlined its priorities for the Government’s Growth Review, which the Chancellor is set to reveal alongside his Budget on March 23.

In a letter to George Osborne, the CBI calls on the Government to focus on boosting export performance, unleashing investment spending in the UK, and removing barriers for high-growth firms.

The Budget must also address areas of taxation, the CBI said, which are discouraging entrepreneurship and undermining UK competiveness.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: "This Budget must demonstrate a relentless focus on growth to help get the UK working again. We need an all-action Budget which boosts exports, investment and jobs.

"The Budget should create the framework for a Mittelstand of mid-cap businesses by ensuring they can access the capital they need to expand at home and abroad."

The CBI outlined a number of initiatives which could boost exports and investment, including strengthening UK Trade & Investment to provide more targeted support for exporters.

The group also wants regulation to change, including restoring the two-year unfair dismissal qualifying period to give companies more time to assess the potential of a new employee.

Although oil prices and related world events are outside the UK’s control, the CBI says above-inflation rise in fuel duties would make a difficult situation worse.


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