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News that key figures in the northern business community are now throwing their weight behind the moves to establis...
News that key figures in the northern business community are now throwing their weight behind the moves to establish a regional chamber, to work alongside the government's planned development agency, have been warmly welcomed by the North of England Assembly of Local Authorities.

Assembly chair John McCormack said the latest comments from both the chairs of the Northern Business Forum, Bill Midgley, and the

Northern CBI, Hugh Morgan-Williams - reported in the regional media yesterday - underlined the 'growing recognition that we can build on the partnerships we already have in the north to provide a strong and effective regional chamber, representing all sections of the community.'

The assembly is holding a special meeting on May 15th when it will consider proposals for the framework of the proposed regional chamber, which it is hoped can come into operation at the same as the Regional Development Agency next April.

Said cllr McCormack: 'We have been involved in discussions with all

our key regional partners for some time and it is very encouraging to see the leaders of both the Business Forum and the CBI making such supportive and constructive public comments, recognising the importance of us all working together on developing the right kind of chamber for our region.

'In this region we can rightly claim to have led the way in encouraging partnerships between all sections of the community and we know that the best way forward is by carefully considering all views and all options. That is the approach we have taken in our discussions so far and I am confident that we will be able to present to the assembly next month a framework which will generate widespread support.

'In their latest comments both the Business Forum and the CBI have stressed their wish that the business community should have a role in the Chamber. We agree with that - and in fact we believe that all sections of the community must play their part.

'Clearly the Regional Development Agency will take the lead in the drive towards economic regeneration and improving competitiveness. At the same time there is a need for the chamber, which can reflect the wider views of the region across areas as diverse as education, training and transport to health, tourism and the arts.

'It will also provide us with a strong voice in influencing future European developments - especially funding for the regions - as well as acting as a stepping stone towards a democratically-elected regional assembly.'

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