December 7, 2018
This time last year we were all talking about Brexit – 12 months on it still dominates both the political and business agendas. As March 29 edges closer, we are working with our clients to support them during what remains an uncertain transition period. Brexit will pose challenges and present opportunities to many businesses over the next 12 months, but particularly those companies with import and export interests. A sizable number of such businesses are manufacturers based here in the North East.
Manufacturing is a key sector for the region, and it’s a key sector for our firm. Earlier this year, we partnered with EEF on a report which examined the general public’s perception of UK manufacturing. The results demonstrated that the public believe that the sector remains essential to the future success of the UK economy post-Brexit and that the public want Government to place more value on it.
This year has also been a fantastic year for Womble Bond Dickinson in the region. As a firm, whilst we have 26 office locations across the UK and US, Newcastle remains our largest single office and at the heart of our overall business. We have been proudly supporting North East businesses for over 200 years and the past year has been no different with our lawyers supporting a number of key clients across the region. Two of our larger deals for North East based businesses were recognised at this year’s North East Dealmakers awards. We were proud to have advised longstanding client Tekmar, based in Newton Aycliffe, on its AIM listing and the Royal Institute of British Architects on the £31.8m investment by Lloyds Development Capital into Newcastle based NBS.
Our scale and reach also enables us to promote the region as a fantastic place to invest and do business. One way we look to do that is through supporting the Department for International Trade and their US trade missions, with some of our US colleagues hosting a delegation from the region
in Boston this month. Our team also joined the North East Automotive Alliance for the Southern Automotive Conference in the US earlier this year, the visit included a tour of automotive industry hotspots across South East America to strengthen ties between the regions.
More generally, 2018 has been a fantastic year for the North East. NewcastleGateshead hosted the Great Exhibition of the North, an engagement and creative programme of activity that brought many new visitors to the region and one we were proud to have played our part in supporting as legal partner. The £600m North of Tyne devolution deal was also signed in November, following in the footsteps of the Tees Valley who signed their deal in 2015. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this brings to the region over the coming years.
2019 promises to be another year of change, with the impact of Brexit on all of our businesses (hopefully) becoming clear. We will continue to work with our clients and partners across the region to ensure the business community meets the challenges and takes the opportunities that Brexit presents. The region continues to produce some fabulous success stories and we look forward to supporting this, locally and further afield, for years to come.