ONE third of the region's economic growth is created by just 600 small businesses, according to a report published today (Thursday).

The Octopus High Growth Small Business Report 2015 produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), revealed that while the North East-has the second fewest number of high growth small businesses (HGSBs) in the UK they were responsible for a significant 33 per cent of GVA growth in the region last year, the second highest in the UK.

A total of 21,000 people in the North-East were employed by one of the region's 600 high growth small business last year. The report states that if there were as many HGSBs in the North-East as there are in the South-East, which has 2,700, then our region would benefit from an additional 99,800 jobs.

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Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool and Labour Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, said: “This report from Octopus highlights how important high growth small businesses are to the economy of the UK and how they are the key to growth in every region, particularly in the North. We need to ensure that these companies have the opportunity to grow still further, providing great opportunities across the countries. MPs will want to back these businesses, as they provide prosperity and job growth in every constituency.”