Senior Bank of England representative visits Cornwall
senior representative of the Bank of England has consulted
with members of the Cornwall Business Partnership (CBP) and
leading business people of Cornwall.
The talk, by Kevin Butler, the Bank of England Agent for
South West England, was a first for the CBP which represents
over 9,000 businesses through its collaboration with the Federation
of Small Businesses, chambers of commerce, enterprise trusts,
Cornwall Agricultural Council and many others.
Thelma Sorensen, CBP chair, initiated the Business Intelligence
event - held at Fistral Blue, Newquay, on Monday (November
27th) - with the help of the Objective One Partnership Office.
Mr Butler said: "The Bank of England's Monetary
Policy Committee sets UK interest rates in order to achieve
the Government's target for low inflation. It has regional
agencies to advise the Committee on business conditions across
the UK. As the Agent, I cover Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
along with most of the rest of the South West. The Deputy
Agent, Geoff Harding, and I visit Cornwall regularly to talk
to companies individually and also to meet with a 'business
panel' of up to thirty firms, once a quarter.
"The meeting with the Cornwall Business Partnership
was a useful opportunity both to explain the background to
recent changes of interest rate and to listen to the views
of those who are running businesses in Cornwall."
Issues for this region that were raised by Mr Butler included
skills shortages, the prevalence of low paid jobs which reflect
the dominance of the tourism and agriculture sectors, and
the continued challenge of distance to key global markets.
But Mr Butler was optimistic about the steadily growing economy
of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. He said: "Objective
One and the Convergence programmes are and will be a key part
of how the Cornish economy develops. UK wide this year there
is increasing business investment in research and development,
in people through training and in fixed assets such as IT
and buildings. Cornwall has a skills shortage but equally
there are some important education opportunities (such as
the Combined Universities in Cornwall) that will take time
to have an impact.
"There have been month by month variations in consumer
demand this year and this, together with high energy prices,
has probably affected tourism in Cornwall and the Isles of
Scilly. According to some reports, the middle market for tourism
was down on 2005, but the season's strength was skewed
towards the later months reflecting the remarkable weather.
"I think one of the most significant features for
this region is how much higher the level of broadband penetration,
supported by the actnow project in Cornwall, is compared to
some other parts of the UK. That has given businesses a real
platform to develop for the future."
Before Mr Butler's presentation CBP members had heard
presentations about the Convergence and associated programmes
which will follow Objective One and be managed by the South
West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA).
Phil McVey, director of European Programmes for SWRDA, and
John McCreadie, an independent consultant who has been retained
by the managing authority - held the first business sector
consultation on the draft ERDF (European Regional Development
Fund) Operational Programme.
Thelma Sorensen said: "The private sector made
a strong representation that the vital engagement of the private
sector which has been such a resounding success in the Objective
One programme should be strengthened in all areas of the Convergence
"There was also a strong feeling that an independent
body, such as the current Objective One Partnership Office,
should have a main role during Convergence. The CBP stressed
that, like Objective One, this round of investment is in Cornwall,
For further information please contact Clare Morgan, Media
Relations Manager for the Objective One Partnership Office
on 01872 223439 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cornwall Business Partnership aims to provide a single
voice for business in Cornwall, encourage entrepreneurial
activity and boost this region's economy. To contact
the CBP telephone 01752 843480 or email: email@example.com.
Anyone who wants to read and/or comment on the draft Operational
Programme for ERDF Convergence can do so via www.southwestrda.org.uk/what-we-do/policy/european-funding-pos.shtm
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439