Jonathan Walker, assistant director, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “We are pleased the Chancellor has listened to our calls to improve local business conditions in our region and welcome the business rate relief for town centre retailers as well as the future High Street fund. The decision to half the apprenticeship cost of training for SMEs is also good news and is an endorsement of what was contained in our submission to the Treasury.
“Our businesses need to have a good infrastructure to succeed and grow so the announcement of £37m to develop plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail is welcome. Government now needs to commit to backing the full proposals as they come forwards.
“We have worked hard over the past year to support workers’ mental health and welcome the investment in services to provide help for this important area of employees’ well-being.
“Developing the South Tees site is a complex, long term project and so new funding is a useful start to attract new businesses to the area.
“Sadly, the major omission was support for exporters in the context of Brexit. We called for additional support for companies to break into new markets and strengthen our export performance. The Chancellor also missed the opportunity to improve regional competitiveness by not reforming Air Passenger Duty.