NE Lib Dems chair Ian Jones: "We ARE open for business"
(Letter to Newcastle Journal, Northern Echo, and Evening Gazette)
The historic management of the Redcar plant by SSI; should the Government intervene to secure the manufacture of steel during an economic period when global markets suggest otherwise; what now for Teesside and the North East in general, are some of the key questions we are now wrestling with. There is immediacy to these questions, but they should be seen within the context of the region’s long term economic future.
We have five vibrant universities where innovation and enterprise are encouraged and supported. Our corporate sector embraces new business ventures and increased apprenticeships. Supporting new technologies and business start-ups, combined with the determination to ensure the region becomes a place of opportunity and growth comprise the backdrop of our current steel crisis.
If our long term economic future is to be secured two sectors need to re-examine the effectiveness of their contributing roles.
Further Education Colleges must address the vocational skills shortage across the region. Questions have to be raised about their ability to do so when their imposed priorities are based on ‘growth’ to satisfy commercial targets.
Local government should grasp regional devolution and all it offers. Tees Valley Unlimited and the North East CA must cooperate to deliver the conditions required for future opportunities and long term prosperity.
With SSI (UK) in liquidation our apprehension has increased and many are angry. Nevertheless, Teesside and the northeast reject the stigma of being a ‘depressed area’."
Yes, these are difficult days but we are open for business and the North East is a good place to do business.