Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s managing director, Martin Hathaway, has written to the newly appointed West Yorkshire Metro Mayor, Tracy Brabin.
Mr Hathway said: “The appointment of Tracy Brabin as the first dedicated metro Mayor for our region is an incredible opportunity for the regional business community to find its voice on a national level.
“As a Chamber, our goal is to represent businesses in the Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield areas and champion growth and investment in our region. We have polled the local business community in our region to determine the areas the new Mayor should prioritise.
“When asked which area they believe to be the most important, more than a third of respondents (34.94 per cent) said transport and infrastructure. This was followed by local planning and development (20.48%) and addressing the skills gaps in our region (13.25 per cent).
“On the topic of transport, respondents called for greater investment in areas that have previously been neglected. It has been promising to see this issue feature prominently in candidates’ manifestos, but dedication and a greater understanding on a localised level is required to ensure long-term improvement to our region’s transport and infrastructure.
“Our challenge to Ms Brabin is to simply listen to this clear message from local business leaders. We also asked our region’s business leaders to tell us the areas where their businesses are facing the biggest obstacles.
“Forty per cent cited cashflow as their main area of concern, 27.50 per cent say they are struggling with recruitment and 16.25 per cent are experiencing problems with international trade. This feedback echoes the findings of our recent Quarterly Economic Report, which found that cashflow continues to be a concern for many.
“The data shows that smaller firms are experiencing greater challenges managing their day-to-day balance sheet in the wake of the pandemic. Overall, businesses are unanimous in their calls for the new Mayor to deliver on regional improvement and development.
“She must understand the challenges facing businesses in the region and be willing to collaborate, support and represent businesses, from large corporations through to the SMEs at the heart of our communities.
“She must be a voice for SMEs, recognise their value and contribution to the region, work constructively with central Government and effectively manage local resources. She must speak to businesses across the region to explore the issues we are facing. She must be accountable for the promises made to us, be clear on what will be achieved, how, to what extent and when.”
“We look forward to collaborating with Ms Brabin and building a strong relationship between herself, the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and the regional business community we represent.”