With the Budget looming, my attention has turned to the corporate environment that I believe the Chancellor George Osborne needs to create to help stimulate the North East’s economy.

The only sustainable way to have more jobs is if there are more private businesses start-ups which then go on to innovate, invest, and grow. This is particularly important as it will be the private sector that will have to fill the employment gap as public organisations contract and reduce their workforces.

This means we need enterprise to be encouraged, we need finance to be available, we need costs of employment and regulation to be low, we need the taxes on companies and entrepreneurs to encourage not stifle enterprise, and we need good transport links.

I would like to see the re-introduction of 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 establish their commercial venture.

The introduction of Enterprise Zones in certain areas of the North East would act as a catalyst to attract new investment and new companies in to the region.

Such tax free zones 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.

I also support expansion of the regional growth fund. This could allow public money to be leveraged with private money to provide seedcorn and expansion capital for private companies. This type of funding can most directly boost job creating businesses....whilst the private risk capital provides reassurance that these investments make commercial sense.

I am convinced that people in region have the talent, initiative and entrepreneurism to deliver a private sector-led revival and that this can be achieved with targeted Government support.


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