Cham­ber head’s plea to help re­gional economies

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS / NEWS -

The chair­man of West & North York­shire Cham­ber of Com­merce has high­lighted how more needs to be done to al­low lo­cal and sub-re­gional economies to thrive more.

Ger­ald Jen­nings spoke to busi­ness lead­ers at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s an­nual meet­ing in Leeds and, while high­light­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties and ser­vices pro­vided to busi­nesses dur­ing the pre­vi­ous 12 months, he also set out the up­com­ing chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties in years to come.

Cen­tral to those chal­lenges is the skills agenda, said the for­mer Land Se­cu­ri­ties boss.

Iden­ti­fy­ing the ex­tent of the skills gap and its likely ef­fect in the fu­ture was now key to the con­tin­ued suc­cess of Brad­ford, Leeds, York and North York­shire, he said.

“Au­to­ma­tion is go­ing to change the face of the work­place – as many as a third of cur­rent roles in the labour mar­ket could dis­ap­pear over the next 20 years.

“Let’s re­ally un­der­stand what this change will mean for busi­ness and see it as an op­por­tu­nity”, he said.

Fol­low­ing the theme of op­por­tu­nity, Mr Jen­nings said that de­vo­lu­tion and the North­ern Pow­er­house con­cept need to be de­liv­ered in order for West & North York­shire to ful­fil its po­ten­tial.

“We want to en­sure that we play a full role in the eco­nomic fu­ture of the UK and in the so­cial well-be­ing of all,” said the busi­ness leader; but fail­ure to se­cure a de­vo­lu­tion deal in this part of the world was hand­i­cap­ping as­pi­ra­tions.

“We must se­cure a deal in order to catch up with other re­gions and cre­ate our own fu­ture.”

Mr Jen­nings of­fered to lead a more “pos­i­tive and dy­namic” lob­by­ing cam­paign on trans­port in­vest­ment.

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