THERESA May’s speech on Friday was much softer in its approach to Brexit than some of her previous speeches.

I believe the pendulum is swinging towards a softer Brexit, with a close and tighter relationship to the EU than we might previously have been expecting.

Those MPs who are pro leaving the EU are definitely not getting it all their own way.

Despite this shift, it was extremely disappointing for our members that there was nothing within this speech to give real confidence in how the Brexit deal with work in practice.

A major North-East manufacturer made a very important point to me on the whole Brexit situation a few days ago.

He said when you are trading with the rest of the world customers want to have a supply chain close to their plant, ideally within a 50-mile radius.

If we want to have a free trade deal with China, great, but the logistics cost will have to be competitive, which means building a factory there to ensure the supply chain is effective and in close proximity.

Many of our members are having to explore key decisions on this at present.

Do they set up a new plant in Europe, with a new supply chain, or for those multi-national organisations with a presence in the EU already, how much of their organisation do they move to EU?

There was nothing in Mrs May’s speech to give any reassurance to these companies.

We do welcome the fact she did acknowledge the need to have a close relationship with the EU, but there wasn’t enough in this speech to reassure businesses completely.

We know we will not get everything we want, but time left to find out is becoming critical.

Brexit may be a challenging situation, but the dreadful weather over the past week has shown clearly how determined we are, as a region, to pull together to get ourselves out of challenging situations.

The snow has tested many businesses and I have been so impressed how colleagues, neighbours and our members have helped each other in these difficult circumstances.

Finally, I would like to congratulation our member Vinoviumm which is celebrating 20 years in business and, I’m pleased to say, a comparable number as a Chamber member. Congratulations to them all from us.

James Ramsbotham is chief executive at the North-East England Chamber of Commerce