The Sheffield City Region Chambers bought together businesses from across the region on Friday 5 May to discuss the results of the Q1 Quarterly Economic Survey and the implications of the Government’s proposed Industrial Strategy for their company.
The results of the survey, sponsored by The Source, showed that nearly half of the 400+ business leaders, who completed the survey, did not know enough about the Industrial Strategy to be able to form an opinion on it. As a result, key note speaker of the event, Ashley Shackleton, Head of Public Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce said businesses faced an initial challenge of demystifying the various pillars of the strategy.
Mr Shackleton provided an analysis of the Strategy from the perspective of the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) national network of thousands of businesses of all sizes and sectors. He told the business leaders present that he hoped the planned industrial strategy would create a sense of national mission, and secure broad public and political support. A key part of the strategy is about preparing for new technologies, advanced engineering and new opportunities. He also commented on the forthcoming general election saying that the announcement of the ‘snap’ election by Theresa May had sent shockwaves down the political corridors of Parliament. He shared the important message in relation to the forthcoming general election that the decision for voting “must not be based on Brexit alone”.
Ashley cited the recent Election Manifesto produced by the BCC to assist parties with the business message to inform their campaigns. The manifesto is titled ‘Brexit and Beyond’ and contains a clear call to action that “the next government must deliver a bold and clear strategy to support economic growth across all regions and nations of the UK.” http://bit.ly/2r4DFEh
Despite firms’ lack of knowledge on the Industrial Strategy the event finished with a message of optimism amongst business leaders in the room. The results from the survey forecast a strong outlook for sales in the next quarter with manufacturing firms foreseeing a substantial increase in both domestic and export markets – particularly across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Possibly in response to this, both sectors have increased their investment in their plant, staff force and training.
Panelists including Clair Mowbray – CEO for the National College for High Speed Rail, highlighted that skills support for young people and adults and people investment in the manufacturing and service sectors are the most important part of the Industrial Strategy. Nigel Brewster – Vice Chair for the SCR Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said Whitehall is not doing enough for national economic growth so devolution is important for the region.
Sheffield Chamber Member Nick Leeson and business owner of N J Leeson & Co was the lucky winner of the free flights to Paris courtesy of Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Nick commented following his successful win “I contribute to the QES survey as I feel that even as a small business it’s useful to make your input and have your voice heard, otherwise no-one knows how we are doing. I am keen to support Doncaster Sheffield Airport, especially since the new link road was opened, as I feel it can contribute to the growth within our region, we need to make good use of it, and it’s a very convenient facility with great links to Europe.”
The Quarterly Economic Survey is run by the Sheffield City Region’s Chambers of Commerce, funded by the LEP and sponsored by The Source, to create a snapshot of how the regional economy performed over the last three months and to make a forecast for the next quarter. Businesses can take the Q2 Survey between 22 May and 12 June for the chance to win two free Flybe flights to Amsterdam, courtesy of Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Take the survey: screconomy.org.uk #screconomy