PROSPER MAGAZINE: WINTER 2020 | QUARTERLY REVIEW
WORKING HARD FOR THE BLACK COUNTRY'S BUSINESS COMMUNITY
CORIN CRANE | CEO - BLACK COUNTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Welcome to the first edition of Prosper of 2020 and the second in the new format. As we reflect on the start of a new decade it is sometimes difficult to recall all the dramatic events which have taken place over the preceding ten years which have influenced the economic landscape and shaped the business agenda.
Driven by political upheavals and their ensuing instability and impasse; in many ways it feels that we are not much further forward from the start of 2010 and the impacts of the great recession. Growth in many areas remains flat and many businesses are still holding out on making key decisions whilst we await the resolution of large macro influences.
The recent general election returned a majority government with a clear view on how to tackle Brexit and it looks certain that we will be exiting the European Union at the end of January.
However, the trade and workforce agreements made over the next 12 months during the transition period will have a massive impact on our economy, so as a Chamber, we will continue to champion the needs of the Black Country business community and ensure that government and policymakers hear the voice of our businesses regarding Brexit and beyond.
Over the forthcoming months, Chamber members will learn more about our plans for developing and shaping our policy and lobbying work and I would encourage many businesses to ensure that their voice is heard and take part.
One of the ways which businesses can contribute to the debate and policy priorities is by taking part in our economic survey.
Each quarter, we invite you to take part in a survey which forms part of a call-out by 52 other Chambers across the UK to create a compelling case for action and is keenly viewed by economists and decision-makers.
In our latest findings, both the manufacturing and service sectors reported that they were operating at well below capacity with competition, taxation and inflation cited as being the top external factors facing both sectors.
Key sectors also indicated that towards the end of 2019 they had seen some positive increases across domestic orders and export sales but also reporting significant challenges when it came to recruitment.
As a Chamber, we are focused on driving awareness of the skills agenda and inspiring the next generation of our employees and business leaders so that the Black Country remains a great place to do business from.
Indeed, this edition of Prosper features a range of great articles and stories from across the region and business community on how to engage with this key demographic and ensure that your teams are equipped and motivated.
Tackling the skills gap is a big focus for us as a Chamber over the next 12 months, and along with our renewed call that business needs an end to uncertainty, an emphasis on domestic economic policy and clarity on large infrastructure projects benefiting the region including HS2, will form part of our upcoming dialogue with the new government.