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East Midlands Chamber News

High Peak MP Breakfast Briefing

Andrew Bingham at the MP's breakfast briefingAt a meeting hosted by Fig Creative, in Glossop today, local firms met to share their observations and concerns about current operating conditions with the Chamber and with their constituency MP, Andrew Bingham.

Recruitment difficulties were raised, in terms of the quality of those coming through schools and colleges, as well as the competition the town faces from nearby Manchester.

Although it was noted that there has been some improvement after the Government’s well-publicised pledge to reduce the burden of regulation, particularly in health & safety, gaps still exist.

The administrative burden of the tribunal system is still perceived as onerous, the volume of which prevents many basic cases being presented.

Businesses are now starting to pay down their debts, and cash reserves that have been protected for some time are now starting to be released into areas such as training, recruitment, and plant and machinery.

This was reflected in the Chamber’s recent Quarterly Economic Survey, corroborating anecdotal feedback of renewed optimism and increasing levels of business confidence that led to two back-to-back quarters of economic recovery.

Salaries are rising and firms are having to make a number of compromises with expectations regarding skills.

It was reported that there is no shortage of suitably-qualified factory operatives applying for available vacancies, revealing a distinct appetite for work.

Nevertheless, attendees felt that there has been too much of a focus toward getting young people through college and university, rather than ‘tooling them up’ to learn a trade.

There are plenty of graduate-level applicants, though few that have the skills necessary to satisfy the requirements of the modern employer; accounting for the Chamber’s work with its Schools Forum, in a bid to provide a more vocational direction.

The direct.gov website for jobseekers came under criticism, as it was not considered helpful in allowing employers promote their vacancies. Members felt the Government had made the system too difficult and that job-centres can no longer be contacted directly.

The complexity - and quality - of business advice was raised, as this issue is a source of confusion to those starting-out in business – particularly following the demise of Business Link.

A factsheet was shared with attendees, and their attention was drawn to the D2N2/DNCC online resource – available to all businesses – at www.thebusinessadvicewebsite.co.uk

The implications of the Chamber’s proposed merger with Leicestershire was raised, and attendees were given a firm reassurance of DNCC’s continued commitment towards the area, sharing plans in the pipeline involving the involvement of all present in the near future.