THERE is something reassuring about working to a plan, writes John Mowbray, President of the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC).

Whether it’s a document setting out the ambitions of your company and the path you’ll take to reach them or a sheet of A4 with assembly instructions for a flat-pack chest of drawers, it’s good to have a guide to work from.

That is what the North East Chamber of Commerce Manifesto is. A document setting out NECC’s lobbying priorities for the year, compiled following thorough consultation with member businesses.

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Each December we wrack our brains on what to name the Manifesto and have, in the past, come up with titles such as “Taking the Lead” and “Delivering the Recovery”, but this year it was fairly simple: “NECC’s Manifesto for Growth in 2013”.

That is because without economic growth nothing else is possible and the Manifesto spells out how the North East could spearhead the UK recovery, but only if its economic potential is realised.

The Manifesto calls for Government to do more to strengthen the North East by championing regional business; developing regional infrastructure to build on export success; supporting business by improving information on available finance; and removing barriers to local public sector contracts.

With the UK focused on creating sustainable economic growth we must work together as a region to maximise the potential the North East offers.

The region’s message to the Government is no longer, “what can you do for us?”, our cry is, “this is what we do for you!”

We’re a region standing on our own two feet, attracting inward investment, exporting across the world and developing our own home-grown businesses. To continue our progress, we require action by local, regional and national bodies, including Government.

We also need businesses to work together in the interests of the region. NECC will strive to encourage partnership between these organisations to create conditions for growth.

The Manifesto priorities come directly from the 4,000 businesses we represent, covering one-third of the workforce, all localities in the region, all industrial sectors and all sizes of business, following widespread consultation with members.

This Manifesto therefore presents a uniquely important collective view from the North East’s diverse private sector. We believe the success of these businesses in 2013 is vitally important for the North East and the whole of the UK.

They make an essential contribution to the health of the national economy and the issues that affect their growth must be given very close attention at all levels.