The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) has lobbied for better business support and clarity on the Northern Powerhouse initiative ahead of the Budget announcement.
It has urged the Chancellor to tackle key issues affecting the region, ahead of his Budget announcement.
The NECC’s head of policy and campaigns, Jonathan Walker, set out the business demands in a pre-budget submission.
Mr Walker, said: “Our manifesto for 2016 clearly details the policy changes we believe can make a real impact to the economic success of our region.
“The North East has a huge role to play in making the Northern Powerhouse a success, yet we are still to see a clear strategy for boosting the economy of the North of England.
“As part of this, we need greater support to grow exports, fair reform of business rates and more detail about how the Apprenticeship levy will translate into benefits for all businesses.”
The NECC also asked the Chancellor to recognise the consistently positive balance of trade in the North East and its untapped potential.
It was proposed that an increase in the UK Trade and Investment budget and enhanced flexibility to spend at a regional level on support such as trade missions would help members grow exports.
The Chamber argued this change would enable the delivery of a more tailored approach which would be particularly beneficial to small and medium enterprises wanting to access new markets.
They have also argued that in terms of inward investment, the North East also needs more support to attract overseas businesses, as the UK First approach has not served the region well in terms of articulating its benefits.
A further demand, put forward by the NECC, was access to basic utilities which are cheap, reliable and secure.
NECC welcomed moves to incentivise local authorities to grow their business base.
However, it warned there was potential to harm the North East economy if there were no safeguards in place as some North East councils have relatively low levels of business rate income and, as a result, little scope to reduce rates.
The NECC’s submission acknowledges the regional growth fund has been a successful investment vehicle and that the fund has helped many businesses make long term funding decisions to help them expand and access new markets.
However, it acknowledged that future certainty of this model is vital for the North East so local programmes can continue.
Jonathan Walker, head of policy and campaigns, said: “We challenge the Government to recognise and strengthen the role of the North East in rebalancing the economy and contributing to the UK’s economic growth.”