More than 400 North East directors who took part in a regional study have voted transport links and connectivity as the number one issue concerning their companies.
The members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) were surveyed on a range of business issues affecting them, with transport topping the list, followed by a desire to reduce the burden of business regulation and a call for focused financial support on start-ups and locally owned SMEs.
Skills shortages also figured prominently among IoD members, who also commented on the prospect of a fast link to Newcastle. with 59.2% of respondents supporting the idea only if it did not reduce the number of trains which stop in Durham and Darlington.
North East members also gave strong support to the Government’s deficit reduction policy, with 81.4% agreeing that ‘reducing the deficit should be a priority’.
The North East Chairman of the Institute of Directors, Graham Robb, said: “Our members are involved in the decision-making process in hundreds of organisations across the North East. They clearly think that the North East’s geography gives rise to a need for enhanced transport links. Connectivity within the region is important but joining the region to other parts of the UK, particularly the North West, requires more urgency from policy makers.
“If the IoD opposition on HS2 was heard, then extra resources would be available. Our roads need to be upgraded to motorways, our cross-country links need to be faster by road and rail and the cost of standard rail fares to London is too high.”