Businesses served up a breakfast briefing

Top figures at Somerset County Council have given business leaders a breakfast briefing.

Chief Executive, Pat Flaherty, and Deputy Leader, Councillor David Hall, spoke at the first Somerset Chamber of Commerce business breakfast of the year, held in the Canalside Business Centre in Bridgwater.

The event was organised by the chamber as part of its work to help local businesses network, lobby and promote the county as a place to do business.

The County Council is committed to playing its part in developing Somerset’s economy. This role has been consistently rated by residents as one of their key priorities for the authority.

Councillor Hall, who is also Cabinet Member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, gave an update on the state of businesses growth and important infrastructure developments. As well as highlighting the opportunities brought by the Hinkley Point development, he spoke about bringing superfast broadband to the county, forthcoming improvements to the A303/A358 and the exciting iAero project in Yeovil.

Mr Flaherty gave a summary of the council’s responsibilities and an insight into its financial challenges in the wake of falling funding. He also urged local businesses to compete for the £400m worth of contracts tendered by the authority each year.

“A vibrant economy is critical to the county”, said Cllr Hall after the event. “It means jobs and it means prosperity and prosperity pays for everything.

“This is a very exciting time and it’s not just about Hinkley Point. We are involved in lots of work to stimulate business start-ups and growth and there are major infrastructure projects taking big steps forward.

“It’s great to have the opportunity speak to leaders in our business community to explain our vision and to see where we can help them succeed”.

The Somerset Chamber of Commerce represents and works collaboratively with the Somerset business community to encourage strong, sustainable and creative alliances that promote members’ businesses, raise the profile of the county, and help to lobby for greater influence for Somerset at all levels of government.

Somerset Chamber Chief Executive, Dale Edwards, said: “The briefing event with Somerset County Council Chief Executive and Deputy Leader was both interesting and valuable, updating Somerset business people on the Council’s priorities for the future, as well as giving delegates an opportunity to engage and ask questions on a wide range of topics.

“The issues surrounding infrastructure, connectivity and bridging the skills gap are fundamental to the future growth of the county, and it is reassuring for businesses to know that the Somerset Chamber, the County Council and other key organisations are all working together to address these areas, giving our county the best possible chance of success.”

For more information about the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, visit www.somerset-chamber.co.uk