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North East England Facing up to the Challenges Ahead

Monday, 15 December 2008

Over the past four years, the region has developed a broader, more diverse business base that makes it more able to withstand this economic downturn than in years gone by.

These are exceptional economic times and we are all aware of the immediate difficulties firms are having, for example, in accessing finance to address cashflow issues and deal with rising fuel bills.

And it is up to organisations like One North East to support firms during these exceptional economic times. That is why resources are being channelled into frontline activities to help companies feeling the economic squeeze.

A credit crunch package has been put in place to assist firms, this includes an extra £2.5m invested into the Grant for Business Investment (formerly Selective Finance for Investment grant) – helping small and medium-sized firms expand, create new jobs and safeguard existing posts. There is also an additional £6.25m into the North East Investment and Co-Investment Funds to give vital access to finance for growing firms, and a further £250,000 to extend the Company Rescue Pathfinder programme to help firms struggling with tax and credit issues. One North East is also working on the creation of a £125m JEREMIE fund that will help hundreds of smaller North East businesses, helping them grow and invest for the future.

There is also an extra £1m for the innovative Energy Resource Efficiency scheme to help firms cut rising fuel bills and a £1.8m support package for Business Link to provide free business health checks, search engine optimisation services and a series of workshops to help firms take practical steps to deal with some of the issues they are facing.