REPLAY: The Economic Forecast Breakfast 2014 took place this morning at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham. Follow our LIVE coverage of the event here. If you were at the event, tweet us #businessbreakfast
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to The Journal's Economic Forecast Breakfast 2014 liveblog.
I'm Michael Brown and I'll be bringing you all the latest from Ramside Hall in County Durham, where already business leaders have been chatting and networking for almost an hour.
In about five minutes time guests will be seated for breakfast, then they will be welcomed by The Journal's editor Brian Aitken.
Once guests have eaten we'll have a second welcome by the new North East chairman of the Institute of Directors Graham Robb, and words from a guest speaker - Brewin Dolphin's Ben Gutteridge.
At around 9.15 there'll be a Q and A panel with the North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham, R&D manager Paul Chapman of automotive injection moulded component firm Nifco UK, Dr Joanna Berry of Newcastle Business School, the NewcastleGateshead Initative's director of inward investment Catherine Walker, and the CEO of Tyne Tunnel Two (TT2) Rachel Turnbull.
Guests should be just about sitting down to be served their Journal Economic Forecast Breakfast 2014.
Ramside Hall packing out with the great and the good for Economic Forecast Breakfast #businessbreakfast— Robert Gibson (@JournalGibson) April 10, 2014
Remember you can join in the debate this morning by using the Twitter hashtag #businessbreakfast - as my colleague Robert Gibson has here.
WELCOME: The Journal's editor Brian Aitken should be delivering his welcoming remarks right about now, which I'd love to tell you I'm at Ramside scribbling down in shorthand and relaying to you in an exceptionally timely fashion - but I'll confess I cheat a little, having already had sight of them.
WELCOME: The Journal's editor Brian Aitken: "Good morning ladies and gentlemen and on behalf of The Journal, Evening Gazette and Brewin Dolphin it is my very great pleasure to welcome you to Ramside Hall for our Economic Forecast breakfast.
"We're here to talk about the economy and the prospects for businesses in the North East.
"Well, the timing of today's event could not have been better. For today The Journal and Evening Gazette are in the news - and for the very best of reasons.
"Because our Lets Grow campaign has just been awarded a further £30 million from the Regional Growth Fund to help North East companies grow and create employment.
WELCOME: "Working with key partners the BE Group and UNW, as well as the universities of Teesside and Northumbria, we are in the process of distributing our first £30 million with a challenge set by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills to create or safeguard 3,000 jobs.
"I'm proud to say that we are well ahead of that jobs target, although we are down to our last £4 million."
WELCOME: "So today's announcement from the Government that we have been successful with our bid for a further £30 million is a fantastic compliment to the work that we have been doing and to the hard work and diligence of the investment panel we recruited to help us award the money to the most deserving cases.
"I'm so pleased that that work can now continue for a further two years."
WELCOME: "The Journal and Gazette have also joined forces in an initiative called Proud to Back Apprenticeships, a campaign aimed at encouraging more companies, particularly those in the manufacturing sector, to put training and skills at the heart of what they do so that we can get more people coming through the training pipeline to replace the thousands of skilled North East workers who are due to retire in the next few years."
WELCOME: "Let's Grow and the apprenticeships campaign are just two examples of how The Journal and Gazette are making a tangible difference to business in the North East - and we're keen to do even more."
BREAKFAST: Breakfast is now being served at Ramside Hall and it appears that it's going down well with my business colleagues.
Mmmm. The coffee here is splendid. Strong but smooth. But you probably don't need to know that. Debate to start soon #businessbreakfast— Robert Gibson (@JournalGibson) April 10, 2014
BREAKFAST: Here's the scene currently at Ramside Hall in County Durham where the North East's business leaders are tucking into The Journal / Evening Gazette Economic Forecast Breakfast 2014.
FUNDING: Journal editor Brian Aitken has this morning announced the Government is providing a further £30m to help North East businesses grow.
But we'd like to hear how you think that money should be spent.
BUSINESS NEWS: As everyone at Ramside seems to be quietly enjoying their breakfast, I'll bring you a little of today's top North East business news.
Around 300 jobs could be created as the UK’s first truly digital bank is established in the North East.
Founder of Metro Bank Anthony Thomson and chief executive of First Direct Mark Mullen have chosen the region for the headquarters of their latest venture, Atom, a branchless bank that will be focused on providing the best possible customer experience. The exact location is yet to be confirmed.
Yesterday, Thomson told the Journal the firm would start with 120 people in 2015, but would grow over time to around 300, the vast majority of the jobs being created in the North East, where the cost base was lower than elsewhere.
“Equally important is the fact that the North East has a great workforce - motivated, talented and skilled - to draw upon,” he added.
“I was born in Corbridge and grew up in Newcastle, so I’m delighted that I’ll be spending more time there again.”
BUSINESS NEWS: An engineering firm which aims to double turnover within three years and explore international opportunities said it can now execute its ambitious plans after being acquired in a deal worth £2.75m.
Agriculture, food and engineering group Carr’s Milling Industries has acquired North Shields-based Chirton Engineering, which makes equipment for the nuclear, oil and gas and renewable energy sectors.
Carr’s produces farm products and ingredients for the ready meal and baking industries and chief executive Tim Davies said the firm has been searching for a business to complement its own its engineering division.
As part of the deal – which was overseen by Square One Law and Tait Walker – Carr’s will acquire the entire share capital of Chirton for £2.75m and an additional £2.55m could become payable subject if certain conditions are met over the next five years.
BREAKFAST: My colleagues at the Gazette appear to have eaten their fill and are now ready and raring to go for the Q and A panel that is due to start in about 10 minutes.
Just to remind you. among the panel will be James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the region’s largest business membership organisation, the North East Chamber of Commerce.
Also a deputy lieutenant for County Durham, chairman of the Darlington Building Society and honorary colonel for The Rifles (TA) in County Durham, Ramsbotham is passionate about the region’s economy and securing the future of the North East workforce.
Joining him on the panel will be Dr Joanna Berry, director of engagement at Newcastle University Business School, Rachel Turnbull, chief executive officer of TT2, which operates the Tyne Tunnels, and Catherine Walker, NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s inward investment director.
Q&A: Graham Robb, owner of Darlington-based Recognition Marketing and PR, and North East chair of the Institute of Directors, is introducing the panel.
FUNDING: Before the panel discussion begins, a reminder that we're asking for your views on how the £30m of funding from the Government announced this morning should be spent in the region - and you're responding.
This from the chair of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign, Katja Leyendeker:
Remember you can join the discussion by tweeting using the hashtag #businessbreakfast.
A panel of business experts from around the North East have assembled at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham this morning for a key debate on the economy.
The Economic Forecast Breakfast sees key figures from business and industry debating with leading market strategist Ben Gutteridge, head of research of Brewin Dolphin, on what the future holds both nationally and internationally.
Brewin Dolphin is one of the UK’s largest wealth management firms, with an office in Newcastle. The company will be supporting today's event, in conjunction with The Journal and its Teesside-based sister paper the Evening Gazette.
Among the panel will be James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the region’s largest business membership organisation, the North East Chamber of Commerce.
Also a deputy lieutenant for County Durham, chairman of the Darlington Building Society and honorary colonel for The Rifles (TA) in County Durham, Ramsbotham remains passionate about the region’s economy and securing the future of the North East workforce.
Joining him on the panel will be Mike Matthews, Nifco European operations officer and managing director of Nifco UK; Dr Joanna Berry, director of engagement at Newcastle University Business School; Rachel Turnbull, chief executive officer of TT2, which operates the Tyne Tunnels; and Catherine Walker, NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s inward investment director
The event is chaired by Graham Robb, owner of Darlington-based Recognition Marketing and PR.