Three-quarters of north east business bosses in favour of devolution

Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Forum.
Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Forum.

Almost three-quarters of business bosses in the north east are in favour of devolution for the region, according to a survey carried out by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum.

Nigel Mills, chairman of the forum, a regional industry body, said: “This survey shows real enthusiasm and engagement among the business community in the north east for devolved powers.”

“Businesses are ready to be involved in debating the use of these powers.”

“Businesses in the region, and among our membership, are largely very well informed on the devolution debate and what can be achieved by a forward-thinking transference of powers and resources.

“This is borne out by the low percentages that felt too uninformed to answer questions on the issue, compared with the national averages.

“The north east business community is ready for devolution and raring to play a major part in ensuring it achieves its potential.

“There is a strong desire for areas such as housing, planning, transport, education and skills, and employment to benefit from the deal, and our members are also keen to see business taxes reshaped as a result of devolution.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, whatever the deal does or does not include, and it is vital that business is at the heart of that.”

The survey, conducted by Hexham-based market research firm Public Knowledge, revealed that 74 per cent of Entrepreneurs’ Forum members believe the region should be given greater powers to shape its own destiny.

That is 12 per cent more than the figure for the region’s population as a whole.