Jeremy Middleton


Entrepreneur and North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board member Jeremy Middleton says the region needs to present a persuasive case and not merely hold out a begging bowl if it is to make economic progress in 2012.

Mr Middleton, who owns Middleton Enterprises, predicts it is going to be a tough year as the local economy adjusts to public spending cuts and faces up to a probable recession in European markets.

However, he believes there are promising signs emerging in the North East including a positive balance of payments, growing exports, a strong and sustainable offshore industry and a manufacturing industry, led by car maker Nissan that continues to prosper.

Hitachi choosing the region to site the factory that will drive the £4.5bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP), which will create at least 500 high-quality jobs, plus many thousands more in manufacturing and service supply chains, bodes well for the North East’s future success, according to Mr Middleton.

Mr Middleton’s argues that to succeed in 2012 the region must:

• Present robust and solid arguments that investing in infrastructure in the region makes economic sense in order to win government funds for major construction projects that will translate into jobs.

• Create an infrastructure fund that can match European monies - a vital strategy if the region is not to lose finance that is being raised here.

• Win as much as possible from the Regional Growth Funds, from the Business Development Fund set up by the banks and from Big Society capital. There are hundreds of millions of pounds available if the North puts forward its case properly.

• Galvanise its construction industry by securing a substantial proportion of the £400m “Get Britain Building Fund”.

• Ensure the Enterprise Zones, that have been approved for both the North and South of the region, work effectively including attracting inward investment, encouraging business development and generating jobs.

Mr Middleton said: “There are substantial funds for investment available for our region.

“However, to secure them it’s no longer enough to hold out the begging bowl – these days we need to make a persuasive case that the money will generate sustainable jobs and not merely prop-up jobs for jobs sake that have no longevity and do not benefit the economy.

“This will take a lot of time, effort and skill. However, I am confident that business and Local authorities in the North East will rise to that challenge.

“It will be a betrayal of everyone who lives and works here if we failed.”

CONTACT: Helen Logan on 01325 363436
Notes to Editors:
Middleton Enterprises Ltd is a private investment company that has made a substantial contribution to the North East’s economy by investing in and providing business advice to entrepreneurial businesses.
During recent years, it has supported seven North East businesses, generally from start-up, usually taking a minority stake and offering strategic advice to support growth.



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