The Government needs to continue to listen to business as the economic recovery takes hold and deliver on four key issues to transform the Swindon area from good to great, according to Initiative in Swindon director Ian Larrard.
In his New Year message, he says Initiative members are asking for vital infrastructure projects to get the go ahead, a new emphasis on young people’s skills, more support for exporters and better access to growth finance.
“After years of recession, confidence is flowing back into the economy and forecasts are generally bullish about the future,” said Mr Larrard, pictured.
He added that Business West, which runs the Initiative, was in no doubt that business can make Swindon & Wiltshire dynamic again in 2014 and beyond.
The four key issues which will help achieve this are:
- Green light the delivery of large-scale infrastructure projects
“Where there is investment in infrastructure, prosperity follows,” said Mr Larrard. “We need Government to progress more schemes that would help both existing businesses and assist in the attraction of inward investment. The A420, junction 16 of the M4 and appraisal work being undertaken around Thamesdown Drive are a few examples of much-needed infrastructure projects that would bring huge economic benefits to the area.”
- A skills system that better equips young people for the world of work
“According to our last Quarterly Economic Survey of more than 600 businesses, the majority of those recruiting found problems finding suitably staff,” he said. “The recently-established Employment and Skills Boards are making great strides in assisting this vital area and we are sure will deliver successes in 2014.”
- Access to finance for growing companies
“This remains a key barrier to growth, affecting Swindon and Wiltshire businesses,” said Mr Larrard. “We need to get finance flowing to all businesses, but especially the high-growth companies – the wealth creators of tomorrow – who are still struggling at times to access appropriate finance.”
- More support for firms looking to trade overseas
“We cannot rely on Government spending to generate growth; trade and investment overseas must remain top of the agenda as research shows that businesses generate on average an increased growth of 30% after exporting for just two years,” said Mr Larrard.
He concluded: “Urgency, scale, and delivery are the three things that the government must think about as we enter 2014. Swindon & Wiltshire businesses undoubtedly have the talent and innovation to deliver but they want to see bold measures to further drive growth and enable them to go head-to-head with competitors across the world.”