Paul Carbert, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “The labour market statistics released this morning continue the recent positive trend for the North East. Employment levels and the employment rate are at record highs, and the number of part-time workers who cannot find a full-time job has fallen over the past year. Unemployment in the North East is now at the lowest rate for a decade.

“However, the gap between our region and London and the South East remains too large. We have called on the Government to address this issue by using the upcoming Budget to correct the historic under-investment in the North East’s transport infrastructure, provide guarantees over future regional business finance once Britain leaves the EU, and to ensure that companies have the support they need to access new international markets.”