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Mean on Monday: Our region has seen a lack of investment

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By Ian Mean

Business West Gloucestershire director

In just a few days time we will have a new government and business looks forward to a new chapter of support from Whitehall with a clear plan.

Our region has seen a lack of investment in skills and dealing with core issues like transportation and housing.

But tackling these issues-most of which are interlinked-require serious investment that lasts beyond one political cycle.

Being realistic, it will be very difficult for business to see any immediate benefits from the new government.

They simply want a clear plan for growth and  encouragement to invest. 

I talk to a lot of businesses and they simply want stability so they have increased confidence to make the investments which will both grow their companies and the regional economy.

Our businesses need people and to retain those people, particularly young people with skills, who will then consider staying in Gloucestershire and bringing up a family.

 I believe that we urgently need more affordable housing. It is a cornerstone for growth in the local economy.

The lack of affordable housing is creating wider pressures for businesses who are looking to start, invest and grow,

So, how can government deliver this vitally needed housing in a county like Gloucestershire where house prices are at a premium?

I believe that government could well help the challenge by loosening the borrowing restrictions placed on local authorities who want to build more council homes.

I was brought up in rented council properties in South London prior to the Thatcher era when most were then  sold off.

There is no stigma in renting a council home. It will give young people the start they need in their working lives.

Here in Gloucestershire, Stroud District Council have developed their own housing stock and the process has worked well.

We have six district councils in Gloucestershire so there is a good opportunity to creat local housing stock if the government just loosens those capital spending restrictions to allow them to build.

Surely this is the way ahead at at a time  when our young people just cannot get a foot on the housing ladder due to the costs of  raising enough money for a deposit.

Giving councils better opportunities to build more homes makes so much sense.

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