The Summer of 2016 will be a watershed creating new opportunities.
The Summer of 2016 will be remembered by many Chamber members, and across local businesses, for many different things that all started with the momentous events on 23 and 24 June.
Many are already calling it a watershed from a whole raft of different shared and personal points of view; reasons that I know and acknowledge are spread across the entire spectrum of opinion and interpretation.
In these peculiar and particular sets of circumstances, I am suggesting that your Chamber can take this opportunity to do three simple things:
- Seeing what Industry and Chamber members think.
- Hearing what Industry and our Members want.
- Making the Chamber’s voice heard.
By opening up and starting these ‘conversations’ across our membership, we will be grasping with both hands the chance to learn more from you, our members. Simultaneously, and in parallel, this action will promote your Chamber which is of mutual benefit to all of the industry and commerce in Burton and District.
It is not part of our shared wisdom, nor our future, to continue ‘the wringing of hands’. The current situations will provide moments to be seized and acted upon. They should be shared for mutual benefit. With this situation as a backdrop, I will welcome your feedback and views at this early point in my second year as your President.
Additionally, I know that our Executive Director, Chris Plant and his team will be delighted to receive your comments and views for wider discussion by your local Chamber; and across the Greater Birmingham Chamber Group in which Burton and District is continuing to play an important and expanding part.
My new watchwords for business and commerce are stability, clarity and action. They directly echo what the new Prime Minister Theresa May set out within hours of her arrival in office at No. 10.
Over the Summer, the new Government has been taking those all-important first steps to bring stability to markets, clarity on the timetable for changes to our relationship with Europe, and action on the many issues that matter for growth and prosperity.
From experience, I am confident that our Chamber Group will be representing the interests of its members in discussions at senior levels with Government. My message is that we need a strong partnership between business and Government, to boost both confidence and competitiveness. The importance of this partnership is now greater than ever.
I realise that to some the implications of Brexit and the potential opportunities that this may offer will remain opaque. Your Chamber remains confident that whatever the so-called fallout from the June vote, there will positive outcomes that will enable local industry and commerce to thrive.
The labour market continues to be the bright spark for our economy. In the three to months to May, (the latest available figures), employment rose by 176,000, and unemployment fell by 54,000. In the same period, the unemployment rate was 4.9%, down from 5.6% a year ago. These are strong indicators and amply provide a recognisable bright spark for the British economy.
The rise in employment echoes The British Chambers of Commerce own survey data. It shows that, before the EU referendum, businesses were indeed confident enough to hire and grow their operations despite the softening economic environment. This augurs well for the future of our economy. Armed with the three maxims of stability, clarity and action there will be positive results in the months that lie ahead.
I welcome feedback and comment on this column and the work and activities of the Chamber. You can contact me at [email protected]
President of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce
Managing Director, Yee Group Limited