Focus on the future

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With the General Election campaign well underway, it was great to chair the latest Local Business Forum at the Mercure Walton Hall Hotel & Spa in Wellesbourne and focus on some plans for the future that will deliver real change for our area, writes Olivia Parrish, chair of the Chamber’s Mid-Warwickshire Local Business Forum.

The Chamber is, of course, politically neutral and represents the views of businesses at a local, regional and national level and our forum is a good example of how we can hear about what’s happening in our area and gain constructive feedback from members.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s own General Election campaign is highlighting three key areas that businesses in the region need addressing – the requirement for more employment land, a focus on skills and the cost of doing business.

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What I’d also add to that is stability. These have been a tough few years for businesses and it has been a long time since we’ve had stable conditions to be able to plan and grow for all sorts of reasons.

Olivia ParrishOlivia Parrish
Olivia Parrish

Let’s hope that whatever happens on July 4 we can have a period of certainty and that allows our economy to flourish. And, of course, whoever wins the vote to represent the constituencies that cover our forum area will be welcome to our meetings, and we’ll engage with them to give an understanding of the views and needs of businesses in the region.

At our latest forum we heard about some of the exciting plans for Leamington town centre thanks to a comprehensive update from Warwick District Councillor Andrew Day.

The work is already starting to bear fruit with the opening of The Fold and the arrival of Cogent into the town centre, but there is clearly much more going on and everyone at the forum was excited to see how this progresses.

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It was also great to hear from a range of businesses around the table and I certainly got the feeling that many are in a strong position to grow, although some were reporting a little bit of a slow down over recent weeks.

That could be down to the election with some adopting a ‘wait and see’ mentality before they invest. And, with just a few weeks to go, we can only hope that the next Government hits the ground running and gives businesses the confidence to invest and grow.

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