Today’s Autumn Statement has identified that UK growth may increase a little this year from 2.0% to 2.1% and projected growth has been downgraded next year from 2.2% to 1.4% (according to the Office for Budget Responsibility).
This represents a worse picture for the UK Government’s finances and there is still no clear plan announced after the vote for Brexit.
So what could it mean for North East businesses? Well, the press reaction shows that there are some very positive news stories for the North East:
- £1.4bn for 40,000 extra affordable homes should help the region’s housebuilders.
- £2bn per year support for research and development funding should help innovative manufacturers.
- £1.8bn from the Local Growth Fund to English regions should mean extra support for the North East LEPs.
- The £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund was confirmed which will help Teesside businesses.
- And most importantly…Phillip Hammond mentioned that employment has grown faster in the North East in the last quarter than anywhere else in the UK.
Coincidentally this last fact was also announced by Keith Proudfoot at this morning ICAEW’s UK Business Confidence survey.
Perhaps surprisingly the North East generated 46,000 new jobs last quarter (the equivalent of seven Nissan factories!) which represented almost 8% of all UK jobs growth that quarter. Not bad at all, given that we have less than 4% of the overall UK workforce based in the North East.
The survey also showed that the North East business owners were the most optimistic of all regions compared to the previous quarter.
All of this demonstrates our region’s resilience and it is this resilience alone that should help our businesses to grow and prosper regardless of how the UK Government handles Brexit negotiations.
For further advice, please contact Steve Plaskitt.