Inflation, skills shortage and the uncertainty caused by the Conservative leadership battle were concerns for the North East Shadow MPC members this month with a rise in interest rates mooted by the majority of members, although one member believed it’s a blunt tool for tackling runaway inflation.

The MPC is a partnership between The Northern Echo and Clive Owen LLP, which considers the state of the region’s economy and gives experts from a variety of sectors the opportunity to argue their case for a shift, or hold, in the interest rate.

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Clive Owen


Nicola Bellerby, tax partner at Clive Owen LLP said: “Our clients are very uncertain about the future because of high inflation, because they can’t get materials, and because they can’t get staff. But they’re also very positive because they’ve got such a lot of work on, but then it’s actually managing to get those parts, getting those staff to get that work done. And that’s the difficulty at the moment.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with National Insurance but I think clients would like to see some tax reductions so that they can plan and move forward. I think it is an unsettling time.”



David Coates MD Newsquest LOCALiQ North said: “The people that we deal with, our advertisers, they tell us that they can’t make longer term spending commitments because of the situation with the economy and inflation, which appears to be pretty much out of control.

“In our own business, we’re looking at cost pressures, which have resulted in the price of the main raw material that we use on the print side of the business, newsprint, practically doubling in twelve months, which is extraordinary.

“Energy prices are obviously through the roof so it’s very hard to see where the stability is going to come from at the moment.”

Constructing Excellence North East


Tim Bailey, chair of Constructing Excellence North East said: “Uncertainty is certainly with us, and I can’t see it going away. So there is and has been over the last few years, I think, a better understanding about how to work within that framework.

“The construction industry deals with timelines of three to five years between project beginning and project end. And often, the key ingredient there is a funding decision, which is near the beginning. and actually has some bearing on productivity or outcomes at the end.

“And so to sort of take a slice through time now, the contracting end of the business is very busy. but is beginning to make noises about seeing their order book reducing in the first quarter of next year.

“Whereas I’m an architect and at our end of the process, we are having a lot of conversations which are much, much more impacted from a funding point of view by those issues that people have been talking about inflation, labour skills, and energy costs.

“I think for me at the moment, getting the inflation under some sort of control would probably win the headline.”

Gray Fox Consulting


Alistair McLeod, chief executive of Gray Fox Consulting said: “What we’re hearing at the moment are a lot of the promises that either that Rishi or Liz Truss will get elected on - we’ll do this, we’ll make this sort of plan.

“So we have that to build our case against but we then have the realities of what we’re going to face, whether they try and implement all those promises - that again just lacks a long term idea.

“I think the Government definitely needs to provide a bit of context or whoever steps up needs to provide a bit of context as to what they’re proposing - whether that’s cutting tax getting the deficit down in the short term, but also that’s got to be set against the broader context of an industrial strategy for the whole of the UK.”

Active Financial Planners


Karl Nendick, director of Active Financial Planners said: “It’s an issue for us simply because inflation starts to become a problem. The market commentators were suggesting it was very transitory, it was going to be here and then gone very quickly.

“We’re not seeing a real slowdown in our demand for services as yet, but being able to speak to various clients in and around Teesside and in indeed North Yorkshire, we are seeing various things such as recruiting issues being a real problem.

“And although the order books are very good at this stage, for example, we’re seeing house builders successfully delivering 15% deposits for houses, and they’ve got buyers queuing up for those.

“Six months down the line, and we’re going to start seeing some real pressures.”


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