OBR economic forecast – NECC comment

THE North East Chamber of Commerce today welcomed news that the Office for Budget Responsibility has raised its growth forecast for 2010.

 Ross Smith, NECC head of policy, said: “The forecasts back up the growing sense of confidence in the economy and demonstrate that the private sector is well placed to deliver solid growth over the coming months and years. We need to make sure that this is as true for the North East as it is for the rest of the UK as a whole.

 “There is a role to play for the Government in creating the conditions that will make it as easy as possible for businesses to grow. We welcome the planned growth review which appears to focus on a series of issues which NECC has highlighted as important and matches our own call for an Economic Recovery Test to be applied to all new policy.

 “We would urge government bodies in the region, including local authorities, to follow Westminster’s lead in examining all areas of activity to see how best to support business growth in the North East.”

 The OBR economic data was issued on the day that a One North East report highlighted the potential impact of the recently announced public sector spending cuts. NECC said the regional job loss projections should act as a catalyst for more initiatives to further develop export growth alongside a programme of skills improvements to ensure public sector workers losing their jobs are prepared for roles that will become available in the private sector.

 Mr Smith added: “Clearly the One North East report shows there are going to be serious challenges in the North East based on the level of cuts being predicted. The private sector is willing to step up to the plate and the region has strengths, particularly in exports, that we can build upon. We need to do all we can to develop these areas swiftly to bridge the gap.

 “In order for the private sector growth to have its greatest positive impact on North East jobs, we need to make sure that there is a strong pool of available talent that is ready for the roles that will be created. This requires a strategic approach to identifying the job opportunities of the future and making sure people are given the right skills to take on those roles.”

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