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Businesses in the Marches are being re-polled for their views on the economic and business support measures put in place during the pandemic as the region prepares for recovery.
Last year the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership conducted the region’s biggest ever survey as the full impact of the first lockdown hit businesses. In October, it’s Economic Recovery Summit polled businesses again, highlighting a range of priorities for rebuilding the region’s economy and helping its business community get back on its feet from the impact of the virus.
Now the LEP is asking the same questions which featured in the summit poll as part of its ongoing recovery planning, working with its local authority partners in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
The summit – the culmination of the LEP’s Business Recovery Week – brought together nearly 100 members of the business community and leading local and regional partners, including local authorities, business board representatives, both Shropshire and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chambers of Commerce, the British Business Bank, The Federation of Small Businesses and NFU.
Marches LEP chief executive Gill Hamer said a draft recovery plan was well underway, but the organisation was keen to ensure the final blueprint reflected the up-to-date situation.
“Last year, 38 per cent of businesses did not expect to make redundancies in the next 12 months even though 45 per cent were broadly or very pessimistic about the health of the regional economy. We’d like to know what those figures are like now, six months on.
“Then, 31 per cent did not think the Government’s new Job Support Scheme would be effective. Of course, since then we’ve had a further lockdown and the furlough scheme has been extended.
“We’re also re-polling for their views on innovation and use of new technology, on e-commerce and financial grant support.
“Our original survey at the start of the pandemic was the most successful we have ever staged and gave us a wealth of really important evidence about the impact of the first stages of the pandemic on the ground.
“We are now gathering new data about how businesses across our region have fared during the last 12 months and what they regard as the priorities for the future. This evidence will also strengthen our case to Government for targeted support and funding for the Marches.”
The confidential poll asks a number of questions about the impact coronavirus has had, how helpful the Government’s response to date has been and what is needed to help the region recover from the impact in the coming weeks and months.
The recovery plan itself will map out both immediate and longer term actions the LEP and its partners will take to stimulate the region’s economy as it emerges from lockdown.
The LEP – the business-led partnership responsible for driving the region’s economy – has pledged to maximise all available funding and delivery flexibilities to direct investment and activities towards recovery.
To take part in the survey visit: www.mlep.co.uk/poll
About the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership
- The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is driving accelerated economic growth through investment in innovation, higher level skills, housing and business sites across the region.
- The Marches region, which includes Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, is a dynamic business region where entrepreneurs flourish alongside global players. Covering 2,300 sq miles and with a growing population of 684,300, it is home to 30,775 businesses and a £14.3 billion economy.
- Bordered by the West Midlands to the east and Wales to the west, the Marches' key centres of population and employment are the city of Hereford and thriving towns of Shrewsbury and Telford. A network of 25 smaller market towns and a large rural area make up the rest of the settlement mix – with the Marches recognised as being one of the most enterprising regions in the UK
- High profile businesses which have chosen to base operations here include BAE Defence Systems; GKN; Westons Cider; Grainger & Worrall; Stadco; Caterpillar; Mϋller Dairy UK, Doncasters Aerospace, Denso, Capgemini, Ricoh, Cargill, Heineken, Grocontinental, McConnels, Kerry Ingredients, Special Metals, Kingspan and Makita
- The Marches is also home to centres of excellence and institutions which promote and foster the transfer of knowledge including Harper Adams University and its National Centre for Precision Farming, University Centre Shrewsbury, the University of Wolverhampton campus and e-innovation centre at Priorslee, NMITE, New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering, and Food Enterprise Centre in Shrewsbury
- The designated Enterprise Zone of the Marches LEP is in Hereford, at Skylon Park. It is the only Enterprise Zone in England with a unique defence and security sector focus, drawing on the city's heritage as the home of the SAS
- The LEP area is home to some iconic places of interest. The Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, the Shropshire Hills and the Wye Valley Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Offa’s Dyke, the rivers Severn and Wye, and places of national renown including Ludlow and Ross-on-Wye make it a highly popular place to both visit and relocate to
- The Marches has a diverse business base and is recognised for its sector strength in advanced manufacturing and engineering; agri-food and drink; automotive and defence & security
- Business support in the Marches is offered via the Marches Growth Hub, a business-friendly website at marchesgrowthhub.co.uk and helpline on Freephone 0800 998 1098 developed by the LEP