North East businesses need to have a stronger voice than ever to be competitive.
That’s according to Hartlepool MP Iain Wright who led a Business Energy Policy meeting in the region which attracted top delegates.
With the UK currently in the process of leaving the European Union we are seeing a great deal of political and economic uncertainty. It is now more important than ever to have a strong voice for local businesses and means by which they can connect with policy makersIain Wright
It was hosted by law firm Muckle and guests heard how energy policy can help industry in the North East and beyond to be more competitive.
Mr Wright, the chair of the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Select Committee, headed the group as it looked at how businesses - in particular, the manufacturing sector - can be supported via the Government’s emerging Industrial Strategy.
Mr Wright MP said: “With the UK currently in the process of leaving the European Union we are seeing a great deal of political and economic uncertainty. It is now more important than ever to have a strong voice for local businesses and means by which they can connect with policy makers.”
The event organised by Invicta Public Affairs included businesses from around the North East including representatives from Emergya Wind Technology, the North East Automotive Alliance, Komatsu UK, Banks Group and Nifco.
Delegates discussed how energy policy can best support manufacturing in the region while also balancing the need to protect supply and meet national carbon reduction targets agreed by Government.
Planning policy was cited as a key existing area of concern.Mr Wright heard that current planning guidance puts UK manufacturers, including the North East’s large automotive sector, at an unnecessary competitive disadvantage.
Mark Peebles, of Emergya Wind Technology said; “To encourage business growth Government policy must better reflect the needs of manufacturers in the UK. At present, ministerial guidance governing planning policy is preventing energy intensive business in this country from reducing their costs and becoming more competitive.
“A small policy clarification from Government would help business and industry to invest in technology that would underpin wealth and job creation for many years to come.”
The panel argued that just minor changes to existing Government policy spur the North East on to becoming a manufacturing-led economic powerhouse.
Chi Onwurah, Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy who advised: “The UK’s Industrial Strategy should include a vision for the kind of economy we want – and that must include successful manufacturing industries with sustainable
competitive energy supply.