City MP joins local Chamber of Commerce for 2019 Business Manifesto launch

Worcester MP Robin Walker joined over 50 businesses at Worcestershire County Cricket Club this morning (25th January) for the launch of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Business Manifesto.

The 2019 Business Manifesto is a collection of Herefordshire & Worcestershire’s key business priorities for local and national government, produced based on feedback from over 600 local businesses. Areas covered in the 2019 Business Manifesto include Skills, Connectivity, Transport Infrastructure and International Trade, among many others.

In a speech to local businesses at the launch event, Robin celebrated the vital contribution they make to the local economy and promised that their voice would continue to be heard in Westminster. Robin also detailed a number of recent highlights in investment and achievement in the county, including:

  • £4.5million from the Government’s Cultural Development Fund to develop 8 new work and creative spaces to transform Worcester’s railway arches into a key gateway for the city and a hub for business and creative skills development. It is expected that the funding will help support more than 60 new jobs and more than 500 people will benefit from skills training;
  • £6.6million of funding to improve the condition of roads in Worcestershire as part of as part of National Pothole Day;
  • Worcester bucked the national trend and saw an increase in footfall during the busy Christmas retail period. Increasing footfall when most cities have faced a significant decline is a huge achievement for Worcester, which enjoyed a rise of 0.3% compared to last year, while cities across the country saw visitor numbers drop by -3.2% on average;
  • Work will begin at the start of February on the final phase of dualling the Southern Link Road. The work on Temeside Way, between the Ketch and Powick Roundabouts, includes a new river bridge and a viaduct and causeway stretching over 1.5km;
  • A leading manufacturer and supplier of products for the healthcare sector is starting 2019 on a high note after taking delivery of its new £13m headquarters at Worcester Six. Kimal PLC is planning to move to the 140,000 sq ft. unit at Worcester 6 in February. The handover means the company will now begin to move 77 staff from its Droitwich base into the new unit;
  • We have already seen progress on the skills agenda with apprenticeship starts in the county for under twenty-five-year-olds increasing by about forty per cent above the national average during last year;
  • In December, the unemployment rate of young people aged 18-24 in Worcester was at 1.6%, the lowest figure since monthly unemployment records for the city began in 1992, having fallen by over 75% since their record highs back in 2009;

Robin also spoke to attendees about the Government’s commitment to passing a Brexit deal that provides the certainty that businesses need. Following his speech, he took part in a panel event with local Chamber CEO Sharon Smith, Hannah Essex from British Chambers of Commerce, and Neil Schofield from Worcester Bosch.

Speaking after the event, Robin said:

“It was a pleasure to join Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce for their manifesto launch, and to hear from key local businesses on what their priorities are for policymakers in Westminster this year.”

“I was pleased to be able to celebrate the successes of recent months, which have included some welcome infrastructure investments, as well as positive news on jobs and apprenticeships. This was also an important opportunity to reassure the local business community that this Government continues to do all it can to pass a negotiated Brexit deal that offers stability and certainty to employers in Worcester, and secures the strong position the local economy finds itself in as we start 2019.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information on Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s Business Manifesto, please see https://hwchamber.co.uk/support/policy/our-business-manifesto/

For more of Robin’s recent statements on jobs and the economy, see http://www.walker4worcester.com/category/economy/