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Ian Mean: Gloucestershire businesses have a great opportunity

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By Ian Mean

Business West Gloucestershire director & vice chair GFirstLEP

Gloucestershire businesses have a great opportunity to help frame the county’s economic future and they should grasp it.

I would ask them to take the time to read the public engagement document titled: Building a Gloucestershire Five Year Economic Strategy.

It has been produced by Gloucestershire County Council and GFirstLEP which readers of this column will know is  being integrated into the county council.

I would urge businesses (and residents)to read it and give us their views in the next couple of weeks before the consultation ends on September 15.

Your views are very important to us and you can take part in the survey by going to:https://haveyoursaygloucestershire.uk.engagementhq.com/economic-strategy-engagement

This is not a fait accompli like many surveys are these days with major points already decided.

And I note that the introduction to the draft strategy says: “This document is intended to set out the broad priorities, ambitions and actions that will underpin the Gloucestershire economic strategy-this document is NOT a draft version of the final economic strategy.”

That commitment pleases me, and paves the way for more positive ideas from business to ensure we capture their thoughts.

Overall, I agree with the vision which says: “The county is clear about the challenges ahead to transition to a carbon net zero economy while providing a high quality of life for existing and future communities that choose to make Gloucestershire their home.”

Over five years ago when the county council launched its Gloucestershire 2050 project, I wrote that our young people should be far more involved in our economic future.

I said that after the county had experienced a consistent haemorrhaging of young people leaving Gloucestershire—many never to return.

Far too often we think of the past—not what the future holds for our young

people and the jobs for them that may not yet exist.

So, this draft strategy for Gloucestershire’s economic future over the next five years is good but we must not ignore the young voice.

It is these young people who will be the key to developing the county’s future prosperity.

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