Chamber Chat with Chamber Manager John O'Neill

February 02, 2017 - 12:00am

What exactly is the Government’s new Industrial Strategy? Is it a hark back to the days of old state intervention or is it a bold new strategy to redefine the UK’s industrial and commercial base in a rapidly changing world?

Over the last 40 years, we have seen a decline in the skills base that Britain’s Industrial Revolution brought incredible change to the whole world. Traditional manufacturing industries such as steel, heavy manufacturing, and shipbuilding have been displaced by industries such as high-end services and advanced manufacturing yet there is still a huge demand for traditional skills and trades.

Will the new Industrial Strategy square the circle by balancing the new and old economies without the heavy-hand of the State having too much control? Can we agilely dance with our new skills whilst not ignoring the old on the same dance floor? This is something that we at Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce have been working on for the last year. With the possibility of leaving the single market, and thus losing freedom of movement, we face the very real threat of a traditional skills shortage sooner rather than later. That plumber or roofer who is hard to get now may become suddenly a lot harder as their skills are in greater demand. With that obviously follows the natural price inflation for services.

This leads us into Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce’s 120th-anniversary celebrations this year. In September we will be holding a week-long event celebrating the best of Lancashire and North Lancashire. Included in this week will be the inaugural North Lancashire Expo where we will give local companies the chance to showcase themselves to the rest of the country and the world. Details will be out shortly but contact us beforehand if you want to know more and get involved.