THE role of the private sector in the future economic success of Suffolk and the importance of the skills agenda were highlighted at the first in a new regular series of business “brunch” events being held by Ipswich Chamber of Commerce.

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Ipswich MP Ben Gummer was guest speaker at the inaugural event, which was held at the Waterfront Bistro and supported by Ipswich Building Society.

“It is really important that local businesses get behind the skills and apprenticeship agenda,” said Mr Gummer.

“East Anglia could become the ‘California of Europe’ with the critical centres of Cambridge, Felixstowe, Martlesham and Norwich all within 80 miles of the largest financial centre in the world. It is vital that Ipswich is part of that great opportunity.”

Issues raised by businesses in a question session following the MP’s talk included business rates, care homes and local infrastructure.

Professor Dave Müller, principal at Suffolk New College and chairman of Ipswich Chamber, said: “We were delighted that Ben could join us for a very popular event here in the heart of the town.

“Businesses want to and need to engage with our representatives in Parliament and there is no doubt that our Member of Parliament heard first hand the real issues that firms care about and need Government action on.”

The next Ipswich Chamber brunch event takes place on Friday, January 25 at DanceEast, also on the town’s Waterfront, when the keynote speaker is due to be Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Health.

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