DESPITE the ongoing uncertainty of Covid-19 and its impact long-term on businesses across the region, it is important that now, more than ever, strong relationships built over many years within the North-East supply chain do not disintegrate.

Supply chain companies play an important role in the region’s economy and we urge businesses, both large and small, to treat each other with consideration in these challenging times. It is vital that companies continue to communicate, adapt whenever necessary and honour their commitments. Only in this way can long-term partnerships survive and emerge stronger and more resilient. North-East entrepreneurs and business leaders must unite to ensure we work together to get through this.

Some of our members have expressed concerns over unpaid invoice payments which is the motivation behind this letter. Although business leaders are having to navigate through difficult times, it’s important to remember there are alternative options. Before an invoice goes unpaid, perhaps the terms can be renegotiated to ensure a proportion of the sum is released. Alternatively, it may be that payment can be exchanged for the secondment of staff or provision of alternative services or goods.

The North East has a strong reputation for its innovation, collaborative spirit and ‘can-do’ attitude. We must work together in the coming months if we are to continue strengthening the long-term partnerships that make the region such a success story.

Jonathan Lamb, chief executive, James Robson MBE, chairman The Entrepreneurs’ Forum