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The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has set up a new task force of business leaders on local and regional econom...
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has set up a new task force of business leaders on local and regional economic development.

Led by Desmond Pitcher, chairman of United Utilities plc and president of the North West Chambers of Commerce, the task force will focus on the impact of local and regional policy on UK business competitiveness.

The task force is undertaking an extensive consultation of approved chambers and their members in order to gauge business needs and identify the mechanisms through which these needs should be met.

The task force's objectives cover three main areas of investigation:

-- Isolating the needs of business at the local and regional level, and identifying those strategic functions which businesses feel require regional co-ordination (for example inward investment promotion, business support, transport, training etc)

-- Identifying how far current regional structures meet these needs or how far new structures are required, with particular focus on the work of government offices and regional development agencies, and the future of regional governance in the business context.

-- Recognising the value of business input into local and regional policy and working towards best practice models for public/private partnership at the regional level.

Sir Desmond said:

'With regional policy high on the political agenda, this is a particularly timely initiative of the British Chambers of Commerce.

'Our aim is a strategy for local and regional economic development which successfully harnesses business potential to improve the wealth and health of all parts of the UK.

'If we can continue to develop a successful partnership with government at all levels, much can be achieved to enhance business competitiveness in all regions.'

The task force includes:

Sir Desmond Pitcher (chair) - Chairman and Chief Executive, United Utilities; President, North West Chambers of Commerce

Llew Aviss - Personnel Director, Siemens UK; President, North East Chamber of Commerce

Anthony Goldstone Chairman, Sterling McGregor; President, Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Geoff Williams - Group Company Secretary, Hyder Plc Director, Cardiff Chamber of Commerce subsidiary

Richard Horsley - Owner, QED Public Relations; Chairman of Economic Development Group, Southern Derbyshire CCTE

Charles Rose - Joint Chairman, EF Taylor; President, Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce

Peter Siddall - Executive Chairman, Siddall and Hilton; President of Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

Simon West - Partner, Cowling and West; President, Dorset Chamber of Commerce

Ken Caldwell - Chief Executive, Sussex Enterprise

Ian Kelly - Chief Executive, Hull and East Riding Chamber Kevin Richardson Head of Policy, North East Chamber

The task force's report is planned for publication in July 1997.

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