Firstly can I send you a very belated welcome to 2018 and hope that it will be a successful and profitable one for you and your business, whatever that might be.
We have had a very good and positive start to the new year with our first meeting of the Essex Business Transport and Infrastructure Forum (EBTIF) at the House of Commons in January. Hosted for us once again by the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP we were joined by Jake Berry MP who is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth.
It was in his capacity for Local Growth that he met with us and had a stimulating and at times lively discussion with Chamber members about some of the issues they face around planning, infrastructure deficits in Essex and engaging with local councils. He took away some real concerns from businesses about the impact of these issues on their ability to function on a day to day basis let alone think about growing for the future and we are planning a follow up meeting with him and Priti Patel to discuss some of these issues in more detail.
We were also joined after the formal business of the meeting by the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP who was keen to hear from members about how things are in Essex and what they saw as some of the challenges facing them when we have left the European Union. This was an unexpected, but welcome, addition to the business of the meeting and we are hoping to do something further with him in the county later in the year.
These are but two of the things that we have been doing to represent the interests of businesses in Essex with senior politicians. We have also responded to consultations on planned improvements to the Fairglen Interchange on the A127, on Highways England’s Strategic Road Network and the County Council’s Community Strategy for Essex amongst other things.
Looking to the rest of the year we will have further meetings of EBTIF and continue to engage with the County’s MPs on a variety of issues. If there is anything that you think we can help you with contact me at email@example.com