Suffolk Chamber and New Anglia LEP leaders meet Business Secretary Sajid Javid in Westminster

Business Secretary Sajid Javid at the Suffolk Chamber lunch event.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid at the Suffolk Chamber lunch event. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk business leaders have highlighted the county’s contribution to the UK economy at a meeting with Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce lunch event at the House of Commons, which was sponsored by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, focused on ways in which Suffolk is “feeding, connecting and powering” the UK, including progress on devolution and apprenticeships and championing innovation in science and technology.

“The chamber’s meeting with the Secretary of State was a great opportunity to reinforce to a key decision maker that Suffolk is very much at the heart of shaping and growing the UK economy and that by backing its winners the Government is in fact investing in developing a stronger UK economy,” said John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber.

“The big messages of ‘feeding, connecting, powering’ the UK were understood and we were encouraged that the minister was complimentary of the partnerships and collaborative approach being taken in our county to drive forward our local economy.”

Mr Javid highlighted the importance of businesses taking a lead on adult skills and shaping spending to meet local needs. He also said Government had a commitment to continue to fund Growth Hubs, and that the New Anglia Growth Hub was seen as highly successful by Whitehall.

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “We welcome Sajid Javid’s strong support for the growth of the Suffolk economy and his big focus on driving productivity.

“With 5% growth in the county in 2014, Suffolk is competing and winning in key markets. Our challenge, with the help of government, is to continue to invest in high skills, infrastructure and innovation so the East becomes a global destination of choice for business leaders worldwide.”

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Deborah Cadman, chief executive of Suffolk County Council, who also attended the event, said: “Meeting the Secretary of State for innovation and business was a great opportunity for Suffolk and were able to share with him our ambition for growth.”

She added: “The county’s businesses and public sector are all focused on delivering growth for UK plc and are working together to achieve that.

“Our assets include an expanding energy sector along the coast, the country’s largest container port at Felixstowe and BT generating 250 new patents a year from their global R&D base at Adastral Park.”

Ms Coffey said: “I was pleased to help the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce come to Westminster with business and civic leaders to discuss plans for Suffolk with the Business Secretary.

“He appreciated the interaction and it was a good chance to put our case and share the opportunities for our county, which is one of the leading growth areas for UK plc with further opportunities for growth after investment in skills and infrastructure.”