Leading North East business organisations have called on Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to get their priorities right as they battle for the keys to Number Ten, as the Tees Valley Mayor said it all has to be about jobs.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “As I’ve made clear, Levelling Up remains top of my agenda to help create even more good-quality, well-paid jobs that the people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are crying out for. This means making sure it is still represented by a Government department and Secretary of State and delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail in full.

“A firm commitment to Freeports and all the benefits we’re already seeing them bring is crucial for the future of our region and the UK. We’ve been working hard to lead the way in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future and thanks in part to our Freeport – the UK’s biggest and first operational – this hard work is paying off. But this momentum can’t be lost and further opportunities relating to Freeports must be explored.

“Now that a permanent location for Darlington’s Economic Campus has been identified, strengthening Government representation in the North and bringing even more civil service careers is also vital. This will make it clear people don’t need to leave the area they love for a rewarding career, as well as keep our priorities are the forefront of Government policy and decision-making whatever the department.

“Finally, while we’ll soon have new Development Corporations across Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, giving us more powers to go further, faster to improve our communities, and that shouldn’t be the end of devolution. Strengthening devolution more widely to give the region the ability to deliver local priorities more effectively also has to be on the agenda.”

Chamber of Commerce


The North East’s largest independent business organisation has urged Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to make Levelling Up a successful reality.

North East England Chamber of Commerce chief executive, John McCabe has made plain the opportunities in the region which he stressed is a place of ingenuity, creativity and optimism. The issues that needed to be tackled include the need for investment in skills, transport and public services, progress with devolution and delivery on Levelling Up.

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He said: “The new Prime Minister represents the immediate future leadership of the UK. They have an unparalleled opportunity to make the North East an exemplar of Levelling Up, an agenda that the Chamber has supported long before the phrase itself was used. By backing the priorities of businesses in the North East they can demonstrate Levelling Up in action and show that they genuinely speak on behalf of all places and people across the UK.

“These calls from the business community in the region are evidence-led, pragmatic and proportionate to the scale of opportunity presented by the region. We urge both candidates, regardless of the outcomes of the race, to commit to work with us and our members for a stronger, fairer North East.”

Womble Bond Dickinson


Simon Rowland, Head of the Construction and Engineering at Transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson put climate change and sustainable housing at the top of the agenda for the new PM.

He said: "In the face of climate change, awareness of the importance of reducing CO2 has never been more acute, with sharp focus on how we live our day-to-day lives being one of the key changes necessary.

"Major increases in housing stock is, of course, very high on the political agenda, and so those changes to modern-day life must include eco-friendly homes. This needs to be addressed quickly and meaningfully against the backdrop of imminent political change.

He said: “The time is right for a reset of housing provision, and how we can build quality homes at scale and pace, create jobs, reduce labour costs, drive down emissions, and improve workforce diversity. To meet our Carbon-Zero targets and address the housing crisis we must speed up the adoption and implementation of digital technologies and modern methods of construction to build the next generation of new homes that are of much higher quality, are lower in cost and save the environment.

“We need an urgent review of the eco-capabilities of new build housing stock to withstand extreme weather as the impacts of climate change continue to evolve and worsen, as the events this summer alone have shown.

“This needs to be coupled with a retrofit revolution, to upgrade our existing housing stock towards Carbon-Zero at pace and scale and to increase resilience to extreme weather events.

The Northern Echo: Carbon Zero goals need to be a clear priorityCarbon Zero goals need to be a clear priority

“All of this requires significant focussed investment by the Government over the next 20+ years, and starting right now, if we are to achieve our aims.

“Rishi Sunak has stated he would set a new legal target for the UK to be energy dependent by 2045 and has committed to the government’s legally binding goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. He would also consider a new homes energy efficiency scheme this year. With the UK economy front of mind, he is likely to understand the need for a profitable alternative to fossil fuels and make the switch from dirty to clean energy.

“Liz Truss has also committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, but has said that she would suspend green energy levies. There is less detail yet on her commitment to the climate change agenda, although she has recognised it is unsustainable to rely on fossil fuels and she is backed by the energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, who has a focus on renewable energy, and the general consensus is Truss was very supportive of Cop26.”

“Action and not words are now needed as the journey towards the 2050 net zero target gathers pace.”



Anne Mirkovic, Government Relations Manager for Cummins, said: “We hope the future PM will prioritise bringing high quality jobs to the region as they support businesses like ours in the net zero transition. We look forward to working with them as we continue to grow and innovate through the development of a suite of sustainable technologies.”


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