The business leaders offered a balanced perspective on the city’s prospects over the next year, admitting that there were challenges ahead – but many opportunities too.
Mark Basnett outlined plans to streamline business support services and changes to the way in which the private sector LEP board engages with local politicians. He was critical of the ‘scattergun’ approach of levelling up, and called on the government to provide new devolution settlements that give local businesses and decision-makers a greater say in what money is spent on in their areas.
The LEP Chair Asif Hamid added that although the economy was in a tough place, Liverpool and the wider city-region could still enjoy success. The free port, the digital and creative sector and the green agenda offered huge opportunities for businesses moving forward.
DIB chief executive and Group chair Frank McKenna said:
“We are always grateful to Asif and Mark for their time, and their annual update on their thoughts about the economic outlook for the city-region. They are always glass half full guys – but equally they made the audience aware of the challenges that we will face during the coming year.
“Nevertheless, I share their overall optimism for the future of the city-region. There are many positive things to look forward to in 2023, the advent of the Free Port, the development of a progressive green strategy, and the hosting of a range of superb events, including the open golf championship and, of course, the Eurovision, put us in the spotlight for all the right reasons.”
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