Nearly a third of manufacturers in the South East are considering relocation because of regional labour shortages, according to a survey by the Tees Valley Development Company (TVDC).
The survey of 200 companies suggests that the North-South divide in the manufacturing industry is beginning to close.
Only 13 per cent of northern manufacturers claim the availability of workforce is a major restraint on growth, compared with 29 per cent in the South. In the services sector, traditionally a stronghold in the South East, 19 per cent of companies said they have difficulties finding staff.
Neil Etherington, chief executive of the TVDC, said, “Congestion in the south-east labour market is having a profound effect on the rest of the UK. Companies are starting to look at areas where there is the support and willpower to get people back to work.”