Sunday Times View of the North East

The Sunday Times published an 'Inside Story' this week focussing on Redcar. It purported to be an illustration of the North South divide, Graham Robb sent the following for publication as an answer back.


Business Letters
The Sunday Times
3 Thomas More Square
E98 1ST 


6th April 2014

Dear Sir,

‘Inside Story’ by Danny Forston (Sunday Times Business 6th April 2014) about Redcar was too narrow in its focus. His suggestion that its High Street is ‘testament to the growing divide between the prospering south and the struggling north’ is wide of the mark; High Streets struggle everywhere!

The North South divide narrative is an easy crutch for national media covering the North. I could take him to see many vibrant, enterprising businesses which are emerging in the Redcar and Teesside area. Private, smaller business enterprises are on the rise in the North East – still not enough but in significant numbers to be encouraging.

For example take a small business in the shadow of the steel works developing and marketing tooth whitening products. Whitewash Laboratories has only been trading three years and is turning over more than £1million and exporting products worldwide. Start-up digital businesses created at the Digital City incubator site, a mere 8 miles away, are now being bought and nurtured by larger national firms. National chains founded by well known entrepreneurs, such as Duncan Bannatyne, have prospered in the North East and created thousands of jobs.

Entrepreneurship is helping the North East region diversify. The prosperous City of London needs to look North, as it did when it supported North East based Vertu Motors plc and Utilitywise plc raise funds to excel in their national sectors. It will see opportunity among the many new businesses that are showing their initiative and providing the region with a better future.

Yours faithfully,
Graham Robb
North East Chairman, Institute of Directors.
Board Member, North East Entrepreneurs’ Forum

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