1 March 2019
At LBV’s February Lunchtime Meet-up event, held at Friars Mill in Leicester and hosted in conjunction with East Midlands Chamber, a packed crowd listened intently and debated issues around the subject of investment in Leicestershire.
Jane Cowley, Chair of LBV opened the event, posing the question of why, despite demonstrating high levels of manufacturing outputs and economic contributions to GDP, does Leicestershire experience such a low level of public sector expenditure in rail, transport and public affairs?
Chris Hobson, Director of Policy and External Affairs at East Midlands Chamber was the mediator for the debate and introduced our key speakers:
- Sarah Spink, Stakeholder Management Lead at Midlands Connect
- Natalie Gasson, Midlands Engine Strategic Lead for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
- Chris Hayton, Director of Corporate Affairs at East Midlands Airport
Raising some challenging questions After each speaker had outlined the strategy behind their respective organisation, the debate was thrown open to the floor and several challenging questions were raised by the engaged attendees, covering issues such as:
- what can be done about the low investment in the region?
- is the airport talking to larger delivery services companies such as DHL and Amazon as part of its plans for cargo and freight?
- who is representing Leicester, Leicestershire, East Midlands and the Midlands?
- who are the key forces trying to influence?
- what potential impacts/opportunities/benefits will HS2 bring?
- how robust is the concept of Midlands Connect in the light of political overtures about the future of organisations such at the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Connect?
In conclusion, Chris (Hobson) said that he’d drawn a theme of the ‘importance of getting the narrative right and the importance of businesses being part of that’ from the discussions.
Jane finalised by saying that the real call to action is that we all have a voice and that the needs of our businesses, families and staff are heard. She added that LBV is committed to retaining key relationships with stakeholders to ensure that this happens.
The main call to action is that there is a need for greater cohesion between all sectors and a call to the private sector to be informed and to be vocal.
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