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| YOU ARE VIEWING ARTICLE - ID:20140711027 |
|Title:||FSB and MADE in the vanguard of Northern Cities Business Hub|
|Author:||Federation of Small Businesses |
|ID & Publication:||20140711027 ~ The-Villager.co.uk |
|Subject:||Business News |
The Federation of Small Businesses has been developing tools to get businesses across the key northern cities talking to each other about issues affecting economic growth. A year ago an initiative called FSB Nextworking was introduced in Hull. This had the aim of creating a Northern Gateway economic networking zone, connecting businesses, exchanging ideas and assisting in the process of improving connectivity of northern cities.
FSB Nextworking is now about to be launched in Sheffield as a major feature of MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival at the City Hall, Sheffield, on 24-26 September 2014. The Sheffield launch of FSB Nextworking will be staged as part of the opening ceremony of the Festival and will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 24 September in the Memorial Hall. It will be hosted by author and international business coach Bob Spence and will include a live link to the Long Beach, California Chamber of Commerce.
The FSB initiative follows a recent meeting of leading business representatives to discuss how major northern cities could be more economically competitive if power in the UK was less centralised. Sir Richard Leese, the Leader of Manchester City Council and Andrew Carter, Deputy Chief Executive of the Centre for Cities, met leaders from Sheffield City Council to discuss how devolution could drive economic growth and create jobs in the north.
Of central importance is how Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Hull could play a bigger role in the national economy if they had the power to make more decisions locally over things like skills and training and transport investment. Underpinning this debate is the role businesses might play in exploiting the huge economic opportunity northern cities have to work together and build on each city’s economic strengths to create an economic powerhouse in the North that is big enough to compete with other major global cities.
Gordon Millward, Regional Chairman of the FSB, said:
‘The FSB is determined to deploy the links it has across the northern regions to work with councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships to establish a Northern Gateway Business Hub. Together we are stronger and able to achieve much more through co-operation and co-ordination. We have high hopes that FSB Nextworking can be instrumental in uniting the northern business communities and radically improving connectivity of cities across the north.’
Leader of Sheffield City Council, Councillor Julie Dore, who co-chairs the Business Advisor Panel said:
‘Sheffield’s businesses recognise the difference we could make to the local economy if only Government would give us the tools to do the job. Cities like Sheffield are where economic growth happens. They are the key sources of business, innovation, culture, research and employment in the country. But every city is different. How can civil servants in Whitehall know what is best for Sheffield’s economy? It’s not rocket science - you can’t expect the skills and training needs of businesses in Sheffield to be the same as Southampton.’
Paul Houghton, Partner at Grant Thornton and co-chair of the Business Advisor Panel commented:
‘If the UK is to be a more competitive, attractive place to do business, it needs to release and harness the latent capacity of its cities and enable those cities to punch their weight on an international scale.
‘International studies have shown that, where countries have more devolved local control and a stronger performing group of cities, they tend to do better economically. But English cities are not competing on a level playing field, which is undermining UK economic growth and hindering the UK from making full use of its economic assets. The tight central control of finances, local infrastructure development and skills provision limited what can be achieved in cities and city regions like Sheffield.’
Businesses in cities have a vital role in persuading Government to give cities the control over decisions and money they need to drive growth and create jobs.
Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities’ Deputy Chief Executive, added:
‘There is real momentum behind the push for devolution and we have seen all the main political parties making positive announcements towards delivering greater devolution ahead of the 2015 General Election. But we need more than words; we need the parties to Think Cities and make commitments in their manifestos to give our cities real powers to drive growth. And it’s not just politicians and thinkers who are on-board; businesses across our major cities, like Sheffield and Manchester, want to see our cities better equipped to punch their weight and contribute more to the national economy.’
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