THE Deputy Governor of the Bank of England addressed North-East business leaders today, outlining the challenges still faced by the recovering UK economy.

Charlie Bean was speaking to bosses of around 170 of the region’s largest businesses at the North East Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Club, held at Rockliffe Hall, Darlington.

Mr Bean, a Professor of Economics who has lectured at the London School of Economics and has been a visiting Professor at Stanford University, spoke about what needs to happen if the economic recovery is to be sustained and how the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is supporting it.

Summarising the key issues facing the UK economy, Mr Bean said: “Much of the recovery has been on the back of higher consumer spending and housing investment.

“For the recovery to be both sustained and sustainable, however, we really want to see three things happen… investment needs to pick up…..a revival in productivity growth….and an expansion in net exports”.

He concluded by saying that, “It is now five years since we cut Bank Rate to its historic low of 0.5 per cent and launched our asset purchase programme (QE). Those five years have been tough for both businesses and households. But they surely would have been even tougher had we not taken that action.

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"The MPC will be doing its utmost to ensure that recovery is not nipped in the bud. But when the time does come for us to start raising Bank Rate, we should celebrate that as a welcome sign that the economy is finally well on the road back to normality.”

Mr Bean has served in a variety of public policy roles, including: as consultant to HM Treasury; as special adviser to both the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons and to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament; and as special adviser to the House of Lords enquiry into the European Central Bank.

He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

NECC President, Dave Laws, said: “I was delighted to welcome Charlie Bean to the region. We have seen via NECC’s Quarterly Economic Survey and the Government’s GVA statistics that the recovery is well underway in the North- East, and the positivity of the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England’s speech seemed to rubber stamp that.

“Charlie’s speech also delivered an important message to businesses and that is that while things are getting better, but we must continue to work hard if we are to secure sustained economic recovery.”

NECC President’s Club represents companies and organisations from a wide-range of sectors including services, manufacturing, education, and professional, to local authorities, housing groups and the public sector.

Established in late 2010 its members employ around 25 per cent of the region’s workforce. Three President’s Clubs are held each year with over 150 attendees for each event.

Rockliffe Hall managing director, Nick Holmes, said: “It’s very encouraging to see more organisations opting to host major events outside of London. The demand for outstanding facilities and good transport links in a region that has a lot to offer are crucial- all of which the North-East has.

"Business tourism is vital for the region and it was with great pleasure that we welcomed the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and the NECC to Rockliffe Hall. Our aim is to constantly break into new markets to ensure that the North-East region is well and truly on the business- and leisure- tourism map and it’s a privilege to be able to host events like this.”