Reading and listening to the news media has left me perplexed.

We all know that the impact, individually, socially and economically has been significantly adverse. It is heartening to see that the generality of the public has given such support and shown great resilience.

My concern is a lack of perspective from both politicians and popular news media about the decisions that are required in coming to terms financially with the significant borrowing that was essential.

To complicate matters, the drive to zero carbon and achieve sustainability will add to our challenges. To me there is no choice but to drive to achieve zero carbon, and as quickly as possible to protect our future generations.

Equally, we need to think about the cost and impact on those future generations in having to pay the costs that are likely to be incurred.

As an example, and to be somewhat contrite, there will be no internal combustion engine manufactured after 2035. However, I was heartened to see the innovation and to experience the collective collaboration in the region amongst those attending the Green Economy Summit of yesterday and a debate within the Northeast of England Chamber of Commerce on the changes that sustainability will bring.

It seems to me that we have economic choices. We either pay more taxes to reduce the debt incurred, seek to achieve greater productivity to increase the fiscal collection of taxes, allow inflation to rise, or achieve a matching balance amongst those choices. The decision is one of balance, for the government. For individuals, we must ensure that our values, particularly in exercising business decisions are ethical, responsible and reasonable. But collectively, and particularly for the Northeast region, we need collaboration and connectivity in skills policy innovation and delivery.

Kevan Carrick – Chairperson, Northeast Initiative on Business Ethics.