Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 21.10.13NORTH East businesses leaders discussed the impact that the EU referendum would have on the region at an event hosted by leading accountancy practice Tait Walker.

The impact this decision could potentially have on import and export trade and the results of a recent YouGov poll that revealed an increase in those wanting to leave the EU, were just some of the key topics discussed.

Over 40 directors from the North East business community attended to listen to John Elliott of Ebac, Institute of Directors’ Allie Renison and Jonathan Walker from the NECC, who made up the panel that debated the EU referendum and the implications for the North East.

Ebac’s chairman John Elliott said:  “It’s important to look at the long term benefits that the referendum would bring to the region, whichever way the decision falls.  As a North East company, we are proud of our heritage and of course will want to ensure we are fully aware of the direct affect the government’s decision will have on our business.”

Allie Renison, head of EU and trade policy at the IoD provided a view on staying in the EU, but with reforms.  She said:  “Europe is an emotive subject for many people and with so many elements to consider the cost of the unknown will be difficult.  However, we also need to bear in mind that whether we stay or go, nothing will change overnight – it will take time, negotiation and patience. But there is an urgent need for businesses to start discussing and planning for all possible outcomes to determine whether they could be detrimentally impacted by an EU withdrawal.”

The NECC recently conducted a survey across their members that unearthed fears over the impact for growth and exports in businesses across the region if the UK was to leave the EU.

Jonathan Walker, head of policy and campaigns at the NECC said:  “As a region we need to be open to business, which begs the question, will leaving the EU give out the wrong message?  There seems to be a common misconception that the EU has got it all wrong and that if the UK left, we’d automatically get it right.”

Tait Walker’s Andrew Moorby, who chaired the event, which took place at Gateshead’s Marriott Hotel, said:  “It’s always great to be able to give members of our business community the opportunity to join forces and discuss key issues. The EU referendum is something that will affect businesses throughout the North East and indeed the rest of the UK, so it’s important that we keep discussing and debating these issues. Tait Walker will continue to instigate events such as this to keep the conversation going.”