Jeremy Middleton


Serial entrepreneur Jeremy Middleton has told business leaders the North East can no longer rely on Government handouts if it is to prosper in the current economic climate.

Mr Middleton was a keynote speaker at an Institute of Directors North East briefing – ‘The Shape of Things to Come - The State of the Region’’.

He said: “If we want good quality jobs that are sustainable in the long-term then we have to transfer our economy from one that is dependent on the tax payer to one where the dominant force is private business – and I mean businesses born here, grown here and staying here.”

He added: “That means the overriding challenge for our region, and also the overriding opportunity for our region, is to create more new enterprises and to nurture and grow the ones we have.”

The correct macro management of the economy is the most important building block for businesses in the North East, said Mr Middleton, whose business Middleton Enterprises, a private investment company, has made a substantial contribution to the North East’s economy by investing in and providing business advice to entrepreneurial businesses.

He pointed out a one percent improvement in the North East’s GDP would add approximately £350m to the economy.

A combination of low interest rates, lower corporation and employment taxes, access to finance from banks and venture capitalists and support to take on apprentices are among the requirements to enable the private sector to grow.

Mr Middleton added: “Action that builds confidence and encourages businesses to invest is going to have more impact than any amount of glorified ‘make work’ schemes.”

He also called for the introduction of Enterprise Zones to attract new investment and new companies into the region.

He contended: “There must be a strong case to kick start the private sector in the North East where a tax free zone would cost the Exchequer very little, but could attract a level of inward investment that could make a real difference to employment, investment and wealth.”

He urged businesses to push the Government to re-introduce an Enterprise Initiative offering those with ambitions to run their own business the chance to receive funds equivalent to their unemployment benefit for up to a year while they established their commercial venture.

“In the 1980s hundreds of thousands of people took the opportunity of this basic level of funding to strike out on their own. It is exactly the sort of practical help to get people started that this region needs.”

Any public funding must be matched by private investors’ money to provide the support that companies and entrepreneurs in the region need, he added.
Mr Middleton also pointed out that since September the North East media has reported the creation of 15,511 private sector jobs, £3.4bn of new investment and £1.3bn new contract wins.

He concluded: “This all says to me that people of this region have the talent, initiative and entrepreneurism to deliver a private sector-led economy.”


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 nine North East businesses, generally from start-up, usually taking a minority stake and offering strategic advice to support growth.

Jeremy Middleton was one of the founders of HomeServe plc in 1990, which represents the company’s core investment. A FTSE250 support services company, HomeServe has a market capitalisation in excess of £1bn.



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