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Newly released regional trade statistics show North East exports continue to increase

In response to the recently published regional trade statistics (released on Thursday 07 March), Victoria Sutherland, Senior Economist at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The latest figures show the value of exports from the North East region, including Tees Valley, is increasing, which is positive news for the region’s economy. 

“Businesses in the North East exported £13.2 billion of goods in 2018. This is equivalent to almost £8,000 per working age person, the third highest rate in England. 

“The value of exports has grown by 2% over the last year and 10% over the last two years. Almost 4,300 businesses in the region exported goods in 2018, 2% more than in 2016.

“In terms of value, 60% of North East goods exported went to the EU, the joint highest proportion among English regions. Over the past two years, the value of exports from the region to markets outside of the EU has increased by 12%. The combined value of North East exports to five non-EU countries (Norway, the USA, Australia, Japan and Turkey) increased by almost £0.5 billion.

“The statistics also provide data on goods imported into the North East. In 2018, £14 billion of goods were imported, with many of these used in our manufacturing sector. Continuing to ensure North East businesses are able to access International markets and goods is important going forward.”

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP said: “The increase in value of exports to markets outside the EU from the North East is positive news, especially as we continue to negotiate our exit from the European Union.

“It’s also very encouraging to see the number of business exporting in the region has increased since 2016. This signals ambition to scale up and grow, which is exactly what we need to see if we want to strengthen our economy and create more and better jobs.

“The North East LEP and its partners will continue to support businesses in the region to develop and grow their international connections through resources like the North East Growth Hub, with its dedicated Export Toolkit.”

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A Budget 2018 reaction from Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East LEP

Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), today gave her reaction to the Budget delivered by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

“The Chancellor has set out a Budget targeting a wide range of issues using the extra cash available as a result of lower than expected spending and higher tax receipts.

“The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) sets out a challenging growth environment over the next few years, although expects further growth in employment. The Budget is based on a scenario of a smooth Brexit, which is important for the North East. But the Chancellor has set out plans for a second Budget should there be a no deal and has provided more resources for departments to prepare.

“Alongside big political priorities on Universal Credit and mental health, in this environment he has aimed to build confidence amongst businesses. We welcome a number of positive amendments to business taxes, the introduction of additional business support services and action to address the costs of apprenticeships.

“Increasing productivity through investment in infrastructure, new technologies and innovation, skills and housing continues to be a strong focus and we welcome the extension of the National Productivity Investment Fund and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; key resources for delivery of the Industrial Strategy.

“For the North East, the extension of the Transforming Cities Fund and the roads budget offers opportunities for new investment in our local transport infrastructure and road connectivity across the north.

“We are also pleased to see a group of significant technology projects where the North East has an interest, including the planned investment into the Made Smarter programme on industrial digitalisation, the Stephenson Challenge, which focuses on electric motor technology and has been led by partners from the North East, and the confirmed extension to the resources for the North East Digital Catapult Centre. As the Borderland project moves forward the commitment to improving full fibre internet connectivity to rural areas should offer an opportunity for the North East.”