Business leaders in the North East have warned that uncertainty over Britain's future in the European Union could threaten new jobs in the region.
David Cameron promised a renegotiation of Britain's membership of the EU and an 'in or out' referendum for voters in a speech on Wednesday morning. The poll could be held in 2018.
The North East exports more goods as a proportion of everything it makes than any other region, and nearly half of those exports go to the EU. James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, fears the success of those businesses could be put at risk. He also warns that big international companies looking to invest in the UK could be put off because of the uncertainty.
But the business community is divided on the subject. Richard Elvin, who is the UK Independence Party's regional chairman, believes the EU is a burden on small businesses. He runs his own internet travel agency.