BARRIERS to growth must be removed to put the economy on “a more resilient and resource-efficient path”, according to the new chairman of the CBI in the East of England.

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Andy Wood, the chief executive of Adnams who also chairs the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership for Suffolk and Norfolk, officially took up the regional CBI role at the organisation’s Mid Winter Lunch, held at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire and attended by more than 200 members.

“We can be proud that here in the East of England we have some of the most forward thinking, hard working entrepreneurial businesses in Britain,” he said.

“The UK is facing a severe economic test. Restoring growth, reducing the deficit and re-balancing the economy are urgent priorities – therefore barriers to growth must be removed to shift the economy to a more resilient and resource-efficient path.”

Dr Wood said that that industrial strategy, the green economy and infrastructure were key issues which, if addressed by government and business, would make a real and lasting difference.

“We need to be maximising our existing strengths in sectors such as aerospace, automotive, agri-food, green technology and services, creative industries, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and knowledge intensive business services – the home of many which are here in the East of England,” he said.

“The East can rightly claim to be the home of a thriving and successful green economy. The work of groups such as the Green Economy Pathfinder shows that low carbon is part of the answer to our current economic challenges not part of the problem.”

He added: “The CBI, along with just about every other business group in the region, is hearing from its members that infrastructure is fundamental to economic recovery

“We can applaud decisions that have been made in Whitehall that are seeing investment in the A11 for example and the introduction of superfast broadband in many of our counties will make a major difference. This needs to continue though with key projects such as the A14 needing urgent attention.”

CBI regional director Richard Tunnicliffe said: “We are delighted that Andy, with his wealth of business experience, has taken on the role of chairman

“As the voice of business it is vital that our members and firms across the region have a chair who can speak up for them on the key issues. The CBI has a proud record of this and after an excellent year with Stephen Bourne at the helm I know that Andy will continue give us that strong leadership.”

The Mid Winter Lunch also heard from Professor David Miles, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of England, who spoke about his views and experiences of the current economic challenges.

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