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Region has weathered the Rock collapse storm; NORTHERN ROCK: ONE YEAR ON THE BUSINESS LEADERS.

THE North East has successfully weathered the storm sparked by Northern Rock's near collapse a year ago, according to a senior regional business chief.

James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: "At the time, people were prophesying that the impact of Northern Rock on the wider region would be immense.

"But I don't believe this is the case. They have had to shed jobs, but a great number have already found other jobs.

"Some of the fundamental issues facing the economy and the wider region are very different to those posed by Northern Rock.

"Yes, the housing sector and others are still suffering. But at the same time, we have still got the manufacturing and export sectors and they are very confident about the future.

"The region's economy has weathered the storm pretty effectively. I think the opportunities for Northern Rock to grow in the future are still very strong."

He hoped Northern Rock would start larger-scale recruitment once the crisis in the financial sector had passed, with the bank "very well placed" to take advantage of the eventual recovery.

TUC regional secretary Kevin Rowan said there was fears that when the Northern Rock crisis erupted that the bank could be bought up by another bank and simply seen as an asset for it to use as it wanted. He said: "We are pleased to see the bank is still trading, still an important part of the North East economy. Hopefully we will see it gradually move from a relatively unstable and vulnerable position to be a robust bank in the sector, supporting a lot of well-paid jobs in the region," said Mr Rowan.

He said the Government needed to act to help the economy cope with jobs losses - including those at Northern Rock.

Ministers should also properly regulate the financial industry, Mr Rowan said.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 12, 2008
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