Teesside businesses are starting to think about life outside the European Union after last week’s EU referendum result.
Here’s some reaction from around the Tees business community…
Gareth Thomas, managing director, Icon Plastics
“We now need to plan for the future. I’d like to see a new budget from the Chancellor to limit economic damage.”
Mohammed Bashir, owner of Boro Taxis
“Building the Northern Powerhouse is now more important than ever as we plan for a future outside the EU.”
Chris McDonald, CEO, Materials Processing Institute
“The materials Processing Institute will continue to cooperate with its global partners as we build on our wide international networks.
“The institute is already recognised as a world-leader in materials and steel innovation with international interest in our expertise continuing to grow and we can confidently rely on this to secure global research collaborations for our UK industry partners.
“We look forward to building and strengthening the relationships we have formed with industrialists within and outside the European Union. On-going international collaboration is essential to the future interests of British industry.”
Jean Rowney, Concept
“My initial feelings are sadness and disappointment. Central government has let people down, especially in areas like Middlesbrough, by exacting savage austerity cuts onto the most vulnerable.
“There is a hopelessness felt by people who feel trapped in their situation and without a voice. For years the government has ignored the fears and grievances a lot of people have on immigration, whether real or imagined, and this is the first they have been able to make their voices heard. My goodness, they have shaken up the whole of Europe and the wider world.
“I feel the same way about the outcome as I did when the Thatcher government was getting re-elected time after time – a little bit nauseous. We have to hope something good will eventually emerge from this and that the best people come forward to make that happen.”
Richard Upshall, executive chairman, OES Oilfield Services
“I strongly believe the new leadership of the UK need to embrace new ideas, radical policies and really make Great Britain the place to invest, save and grow possibilities.
“The strong economic powerhouse it has the potential to become, especially in areas of offshore investment, can now be tapped.
“The rumblings of Northern Ireland and Scotland breaking away should be ignored, as contrary as I can be, we will now be stronger together, we are our own Union, the United Kingdom, let’s show them what we can do.”
Graham Robb, chairman of the IoD in the North East
“There is no time for political recriminations. The first priority is to steady the economy and our political leadership should come together to heal divisions. In business it is time for cools heads to make best of a new era. The Bank of England has rightly reassured the world that it has the capability to ease market turbulence.
“Given that the Prime Minister has resigned to enable a new leader to negotiate an orderly exit from the EU, I will attend to my business as usual and I’m sure IoD members will keep calm and carry on.
“There are opportunities in the years ahead; the UK should promote widespread free trade with an international outlook, not retreat into any kind of isolation.”
Simon Bailes, Simon Bailes Peugeot
“The vote is over and a decision has been made. We have an opportunity to shape the future that we must grasp with both hands.”
Nigel Mills, chairman, Entrepreneurs’ Forum
“While this was not the result the majority of the business community, myself included, hoped for, I am confident that the ingenuity and drive of the region’s entrepreneurial businesses will overcome any obstacles it causes.
“What we need now is certainty, ideally in the form of Government confirming the continuation of all business support and investment the region currently receives from the EU, and setting out a timetable for new global trade negotiations. In the North East the devolved powers agenda and the Mayoral elections in May 2017, plus our active participation in the Northern Powerhouse, should be our renewed focus.”
James Ramsbotham, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce (NEECC)
“A significant number of our members are worried about the impact of leaving. The focus for us now is to ensure these business concerns are addressed. It is vital the Government ensures minimal disruption to trade and investment as the process of change begins.
“We also need to see measures to reassure businesses on issues such as access to overseas talent and the future of regional funding streams.
“We have an export record which is the strongest in the whole country and this must not be compromised as the decision to leave becomes a reality. The Government must now secure the best possible ongoing relationship with Europe and the rest of the world to enable sustained business growth in our region.”