“There have been several positive announcements made by the Chancellor. The elimination of national Insurance payments for Under 21s and the abolition of the annual tax return will make life much easier for our smaller business members and contribute to the positive employment figures released this morning. Support for our offshore sector and chemical industries are also very welcome.
“Nevertheless, while there have been promises made around business rate reform, annual investment allowances and northern transport, we are yet to see action. Actions speaking louder than words and these issues need to be addressed as a matter of urgency by whoever is in the Treasury after the election.”
The Chancellor has delivered the last budget before the general election in May.
George Osborne announced an increase in tax-free earnings, pushing up the amount in ISA's while freezing duty on fuel and cutting it on beer and cider.
Unions say plans to close the British Steel Pension Scheme at Tata Steel are disappointing but the firm says its alternative is competitive.Read the full story ›
"Rebalancing the economy and creating a northern powerhouse of jobs, investment and prosperity is a key part of our long term economic plan.
"We have made great strides and already created Transport for the North to speak with one voice to government on the big decisions to benefit the entire region.
"It is crucial we work together to deliver a world-class transport network for the North that reduces journey times, increases capacity and connectivity and enables growth and that's why we will be setting out our strategy for transport in the North in the next few weeks."
A thinktank is calling for the Chancellor to use this month's budget to give £15 billion to the North East.
They want to create a 'Transport for North' network, imitating the existing Transport for London.
But what would the 'Transport for North' involve?
IPPR have set out a 10-year blueprint for what they think Transport for North (TfN) should do:
- Appoint a Transport Commissioner for the North, who would be accountable to the public and be a figurehead for developing northern transport.
- Move towards a contactless, cross-boundary ticketing system - using mobile phones and contactless payments for journeys across different modes of transport.
- Manage rail franchises, rolling stock and stations in an attempt to reduce overcrowded services and platforms.
Thinktank IPPR North is calling for the Chancellor to use this month's budget to give £15 billion to the North East.Read the full story ›
The Newcastle-based bakers made £1m a week in coffee sales in the period leading up to Christmas.Read the full story ›
Sir Richard Branson says rail commuters in the region should not be concerned about rising prices on the East Coast mainline.
Speaking on a visit to Newcastle this lunchtime he told ITV Tyne Tees that concerns about lack of competition and increases in fares were unfounded.
Virgin Rail and Stagecoach took over the running of the East Coast Franchise this week. They already run services on the West Coast line. There have been concerns from the Competition and Marketing Authority about lack of competition in some areas driving prices up.
Sir Richard Branson invites a member of the audience up on stage for a photograph after she asks him to help promote her fundraising page.
Tycoon Sir Richard Branson is in Newcastle to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The owner of the Virgin business empire is at an event for young people at the Northern Stage theatre.
It comes just two days after a consortium involving Virgin took over train services on the East Coast mainline.
It is three years since Virgin Money took over Northern Rock, the failed Newcastle-based bank.
Sir Richard Branson amused the press when he pointing out that Stagecoach co-founder Brian Souter usually wears red trainers and that he had worn his to match.