The latest from the Black Country 

Members of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Platinum Group and Patron Group Meet with Conservative Candidates to Discuss Growth

IMG 0298Members of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Platinum Group and Patron Group met with Margot James, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Stourbridge, and Asan Mishaq, Conservative candidate for Lye in the Dudley Council election, on Friday 17 April at Quality Metal Products Ltd., Lye. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the Conservative Party would help deliver the aim of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce: to double the size of the Black Country economy by the end of 2023.

Ninder Johal, President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce chaired the event. He said: “It was refreshing to hear politicians talk candidly about some of the challenges the Black Country faces such as cutting public spending without damaging education.”

Chamber members posed questions on the regulation of the Insurance Industry, how local authorities can better support growing local businesses and how the Black Country can get the opportunities currently being offered to the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

Ninder Johal added: “The Conservative Party seem to recognise some of the issues that confront SMEs: perverse targets in education mean that young people can leave school or college unfit for a job in business at a time when they are most sorely needed.”

He continued: “The focus on support to export seems to have shifted to mid-sized businesses. We have been encouraging our SMEs to better understand what is available in terms of support but often they do not have the resources to make that shift.”

Commenting on the small business manifesto recently launched by the Conservative Party, Kevin Rogers, a Platinum Group member, Chamber Patron and CEO of Paycare, said: “Any business would support a reduction in red tape, a fairer business rates system and better access to central government’s procurement opportunities. We hope that the £100bn investment in infrastructure pledged will lead to improved local road and rail systems upon which our small businesses depend. We also hope that our aviation strategy will align with our high speed rail strategy and that we will not end up kicking difficult issues into the long grass.

“We note the offer of increased apprenticeships but SMEs are struggling with current numbers and we need to look at quality of the delivery and how apprenticeship programmes can be made to work in smaller businesses.”

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