Leading figures from North East companies and business organisations have welcomed the news of 0.5% GDP growth in the quarter following the Brexit vote, which exceeded predictions of between 0.2 and 0.3%.

Entrepreneurs’ Forum Chairman Nigel Mills said: “The fact that the GDP figures are above expectations shows how resilient British businesses are when the faced challenges, although it is clear that uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote has had an impact. To grow the economy in the North East, entrepreneurial businesses need to work with each other, and with Government, local authorities and business support organisations to overcome the skills gap and other barriers to growth.”

Sean Bullick, CEO of Newcastle NE1, Newcastle’s Business Improvement District, said: “This quarter of continued growth will be welcome news to the 1400 Newcastle businesses we represent. The retail sector in particular should find this reassuring as we approach the busiest shopping period of the year.”

John Savage, Managing Director of Flame Heating Spares, said: “As a business with ambitious plans for expansion in the coming years this news is positive, and is in line with what we’ve experienced since the Brexit vote. Sales haven’t slowed down at all, but we have seen some movement in the cost of imported goods due to changes in the value of the pound.”

Lee Durham, co-founder of sales consultancy, recruitment and training company, durhamlane, said: “The economy appears to be surprisingly resilient to the Brexit upset. Today’s growth increases confidence for British businesses after a quarter of uncertainty in the UK economy.

“At durhamlane, we’re having a bumper year, working with more and more companies across the UK to boost sales outputs in the national and international markets, maintaining buoyancy ahead of Brexit which is predicted to bring new pressures.”

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “At a time of financial uncertainty, today’s growth figures represent an important boost to business and industry in the UK.

“The growth is testament to the hard work and commitment of industrialists across the country, and a reminder that we must continue to work together towards an industrial strategy, which continues to deliver for the UK economy as we approach a different international climate.”

Anne Bromley, corporate travel expert and Travel Bureau co-owner, said: “Despite expectations, the British economy has performed well in the wake of the Brexit vote.

“The availability of strong transport links to the North East is key to our area’s progress and contribution to the wider financial market. We must continue to do everything we can to ensure that the North East remains open for business, and continues to develop its industrial offer as part of the national and international economy.”

Jason Maguire, Director of Franks the Flooring Store, said: “The GDP figures are good news for the retails and other consumer-facing sectors, especially given the importance of the upcoming Christmas period and the investments people make in improving their homes in the winter months, although businesses will have to work hard to overcome the challenges posed by Brexit.”

Graham Robb, Regional Chairman of the Institute of Directors in the North East said, “It’s good to see the economy is buoyant and that growth has exceeded expectations. North East businesses and entrepreneurs will want to capitalise on this opportunity.”