How much interest do you take in your local economy and the outlook for your businesses and how do you obtain your information?Last month I talked about the fallout from the general election result and the likely deal that the Prime Minister would make with the DUP to obtain a majority in Parliament. Well so it has come to pass and, as predicted, the deal has come with a significant price tag of additional investment into the Northern Ireland economy. To date the Government has fended off calls for similar funding to be given to Wales, Scotland and the regions of England where the same sorts of needs are also evident, describing the Northern Ireland needs to be due to their unique history. Whilst some voices in Wales & Scotland are being heard challenging this situation, conservative MPs and Ministers elected from within these regions are conspicuous by their absence from the debate and without a strong voice from business to call those MPs to account little can be achieved.
We, of course, produce a quarterly Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) to which some of you may contribute and we can provide electronic copies to you directly if you aren’t currently receiving them. We may also hold events at the time of issuing the reports although demand has not been strong for these but I would be pleased to hear otherwise from you!
The Bank of England provides regular seminars based upon issued reports covering inflation (quarterly) and stability (twice a year) which are held in a number of locations around the country by the Bank’s agents, sometimes with ICAEW support. These briefing are very informative and engender interesting discussion. I would therefore encourage you to consider attending these events which also provide a good networking opportunity.
There are three separate agents that cover the region, Donna Kehoe based in Exeter, Stephen Hicks in Cardiff and Andrew Holder in Fareham, all of whom can be contacted via the Bank of England website.
Finally if you have an opinion and would like to share it amongst other members we run some forums ourselves. Across the South West we hold Business Breakfasts, which can always benefit from a larger and more diverse attendance, and there are Strategy Boards in the South West and Wales which help arm me directly with views and strategies relating to the regional economies. If you would like to become involved in these I would be pleased to hear from you.
It really is important that we, ICAEW and you the members, are active in our local business networks and our voice is heard in support of those local economies.
Martin J Warren FCA
Director for Wales & The South West