Democracy is all very well, but sometimes it produces results which quite honestly give people in business a bit of a headache. It’s nothing to do with party politics because the Chamber of Commerce and Initiative work support no individual group and our members are prepared to work with everyone.
The problems arise when there is no clear cut decision and there is fog where we would like clarity.
So the good thing about the last national and local elections is they have been landslides, giving the Conservatives control in Westminster and the Liberal Democrats power in the Guildhall. I think that’s actually good news for business because we know who we are dealing with, we understand the intentions of the politicians involved and we can plan accordingly, knowing both those groups have overwhelming majorities and can make good on delivering their pre-election promises.
Brexit is going to happen, so we don’t need to waste any more time and effort arguing whether or not there should be a second referendum. Of course there are many hurdles yet to be jumped before all the final arrangements are agreed, but the direction of national travel and the timetable are set.
Likewise we have clarity at a local level. The Council, under the leadership of Dine Romero, are pledged to delivering the much needed modern office space along the river, something that will allow existing companies to grow and will attract fresh inward investment to boost our economy.
It was marvellous to hear that Bath and North East Somerset has been recognised as the 27th best area out of 324 local authorities for creating an environment for sustainable growth in a new report. Interestingly, South Gloucestershire is ranked 29, Bristol 48 and North Somerset 134.
No wonder Cabinet member, Councillor Tim Ball, was so delighted, but I was struck by how he’s not aiming to sit back on his laurels but is determined to do even more to improve our economy.
That’s exactly the kind of positive and optimistic spirit we need to take into 2020. We recognise there are many challenges, such as grappling with our transport infrastructure, but if we approach them with a sense of “Can Do” then we will ensure the coming 12 months sees progress on a number of fronts which will benefit the whole of our community.