As Brexit discussions continue, we have been working with key regional partners to revisit and restate the region’s priorities.
The North East Brexit Group brings together key networks representing businesses, education, trade unions, local authorities and voluntary organisations.
Its purpose is to ensure that opportunities and concerns are identified and communicated consistently and that advice and support is given to North East businesses and residents as the detail of changes emerges.
The consensus remains that:
- The North East is, and should, remain an open economy able to continue to strengthen trade, attract investment and secure skills
- The outcome of the negotiations must deliver a strong ongoing relationship with the European Union
- The UK needs to develop new policies in a number of areas which will replace and improve on resources and regulations which are currently derived from the European Union.
Although many of the issues set out in the statement of key messages are relevant to other places in the UK, the North East Brexit Group believes the impact on the region could potentially be greater as a result of:
- The sectoral composition of the North East, with particular reference to Digital; Advanced manufacturing; Health and life sciences; Subsea, offshore and energy technologies; as well as education, key services and transport.
- The North East being a leading exporting region within England, with exports to Europe making an unusually large proportion of its economic activity. Over 140,000 North East jobs are dependent on EU trade alone.
- The importance of inward investment to our economy – the North East is one of the leading locations for inward investment outside London, with a larger than average proportion of North East jobs being in internationally owned businesses.
- The structure of our labour force – ensuring that the region’s future growth objectives needs workforce needs to be met, in particular the North East needs to retain access to skilled migrants and international students.
- Our geographical location as a result of potential competitive disadvantages if Scotland develops more favourable tax, regulatory, trade or immigration policies.
As a collective we will continue to circulate these key messages within the region and more widely to national and regional bodies. We will also be carrying out detailed work looking at different dimensions of the Brexit debate.
Anyone seeking more information on our work to date can find more detail here.
Richard Baker, Head of Strategy and Policy, North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).