Thursday, April 30, 2009

Joining up with the Goole Chamber of Commerce

I was recently invited to the Goole Chamber of Commerce, to speak on the role of the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT). It was a challenge for me to try and articulate the role of the LAT, and explain links with the business community.

The LAT is a new concept, and is a mechanism where more decision-making can be brought down to the local level, enabling Goole and Howdenshire residents and businesses to have more say in the matters that affect them directly.

Pictured with Goole Chamber Chairman Phil Jones. (Director of Link Agency)

Discussions included the concept of the LAT and it’s facilitation role, joining up some activity and thinking of service providers such as the Police, Fire Service, NHS, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and the Voluntary Sector. To share and prevent duplication being a way of saving money that would become more relevant as public spending become tighter in years to come. The Local Strategic Partnership was discussed and how relevant this was to the business community.

The LAT is working closely with the Goole Renaissance team, and will continue as the ‘Strategic Framework’ for Goole is developed as the blueprint for moving the area forward. Goole Chamber of Commerce will be a key partner, having an important role in developing areas of this framework.

On talking to members of the Goole business community the following are concerns that came out high on their agenda:

* Business rates and a lack of the promised Government assistance to help businesses through the recession.

* The lack of bank activity to aid borrowing for small and medium sized businesses, again to help them through the recession.

* Problems with access to the ‘up-skilling’ training that is being promoted.

* Recruitment issues particularly where skilled staff members have been lost to higher paid jobs at Tescos distribution centre.

* Car parking, traffic flows through the town, and HGV overnight parking facilities in and around Goole.

There were also concerns raised around Goole being perceived as a ‘Low Pay Area’, and business leaders would like to see wages driven upwards, increased business activity, and more support for employers in retaining their workforce by providing valuable benefits, including grants, flexitime provision and conditions. There are also issues around assisting people back to work and sourcing the workforce supply for the new employment opportunities on Goole’s Capital Park.

It is hoped the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Greater Prosperity Overview and Scrutiny Committee can look at some of these matters, perhaps when considering the secondary effects of the Council’s Economic Development Strategy.

But all things considered there is a degree of optimism, and despite the recession, a feeling that Goole is improving and moving forward.

For more information on the Goole Chamber of Commerce please click the link below.

No comments: