AN ORGANISATION representing over 3,000 businesses in the North-East is calling on firms to give employees 'as much flexibly as possible'.

North East England Chamber of Commerce, the largest independent business organisation in the North-East, has called on companies to ensure they continue to give as much flexibility to their employees as possible in a bid to ease pressure on schools providing pupil places and help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Chief executive James Ramsbotham said: “As schools and colleges adapt to remote learning and increased demand for places for vulnerable and key workers’ children, it’s important that the business community continues to do whatever it can to relieve the pressure on parents and our region’s education providers.

“Businesses should be proud of everything that they are doing in combating the virus and enabling people to work flexibly or from home wherever possible during this crisis.

"We encourage North East businesses to share best practice and to do whatever they can to support employees and parents as we all pull together to reduce transmission of the virus.

"The whole region needs to give one final push towards overcoming the challenges of this pandemic and our companies are in a unique position to really help make a difference as well.”

It comes as Government medic Dr Jenny Harries said a "regional" approach to restarting schools and classes may be needed.