By Marketing Humber Bondholders | Posted: 25 Apr 2018

The Humber region could become one of the most economically dynamic areas of the post-Brexit UK, according to Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart.

Mr Stuart made the comments while addressing a private gathering of business leaders at Tickton Grange on Friday, April 20th, organised by business group the Marketing Humber Bondholders and supported by Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP.

During his speech, Mr Stuart, who is also the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of International Trade, made an impassioned plea for the region to ‘speak with one voice’ in order to secure its place on the national and international stages.

He also praised the Marketing Humber Bondholders, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce for their work in promoting the region in the UK and further afield.

Mr Stuart said: “The Humber is the UK’s busiest ports complex, we’ve got space, we’ve got institutions, we’ve got a history of entrepreneurship, we’ve got organisations like Marketing Humber Bondholders, and we’ve got infrastructure. Castle Street aside, our infrastructure is actually pretty good.

“We can get out there and we can do business. There’s a real opportunity to build this area up as one of the most dynamic economic parts of the United Kingdom.”

Posing the question what is holding us back, Mr Stuart said there was a need to ‘get everyone on board’ so that the region was speaking with a single voice.

“The best bit of networking advice I ever received is that everyone must agree to agree, because if you speak with multiple voices you’ll get nothing,” he said.

“That way, every minister that ever comes here, whether the vice chancellor or the leader of the opposition, the Labour leader in Hull, the Tory leader in the East Riding or North Lincolnshire, they hear exactly the same thing in exactly the same way. If you do that, you’ll get what you asked for.”

Key business leaders were invited to the exclusive event including representatives from ABP, AAK, Ørsted UK, the LEP, Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, the University of Hull, P&O Ferries and a host of the region’s SMEs.

At the same gathering, Andy Parkinson, Chair of the Bondholders, spelled out Marketing Humber’s priorities for the future.

Mr Parkinson said the they must centre on marketing the Humber region on a national and international basis.

He said: “The Humber economy is performing well and has bounced back well from the recession, but what scares me a little is the global economy we find ourselves in.

“Regional economies around the world are in massive competition for inward investment. Therefore, marketing the Humber internationally is a huge priority. We have to look what the product is going to be and take that to international partners. We have to be ambitious, we have to come up with transformational schemes that are going to put this region on a global stage.

“The second priority is marketing the Humber nationally, and for me that is about the devolution debate and trying to untangle how we ensure this region gets its fair share of investment.

“Marketing Humber Bondholders, going forward, is going to focus a lot more on supporting the facilitation of ideas, bringing people together, bringing other groups to the table, and to be a key supporter of all the enabling partners in the region, in the public sector and the private sector.”

Speaking at the end of the event, Dominic Ward, Senior Partner at Andrew Jackson Solicitors, said ‘the star in the Humber has never shone brighter’.

He said: “I’m on one of the LEP sub-committees and I see first-hand organisations like the Bondholders, the LEP and the Chamber working closer than ever to harness all the energy and goodwill that’s been generated recently. I also see the four local authorities starting to work more closely than they have in the past, which is a tremendous boost.”

He added that having a minister for international trade and investment from the Humber region could only be a good thing.

“We’re not expecting nor are we entitled to any special favours,” Mr Ward said.

“But I would really hope that tonight might be the beginning of a dialogue between Graham and the local business community where at the very least we could learn best practice from other regions in the world and other regions in the UK that are powering ahead.”

As well as the Humber economy, Brexit was hotly debated on the night with members expressing some concern over the ongoing negotiations.

However, the mood in the room was positive with attendees stating it had been a very useful event.

Darren Southwell, owner of Hessle-based Relay Port Agency, said: “We all have some concerns and issues, it is good to have Graham Stuart come here and speak about some of those issues.  He gave some useful insight on the bigger, global markets.”

Alex Balchin, Brewery Production Manager at Wold Top Brewery, added: “It was a really fantastic opportunity to network with like-minded business people.

“It is always useful to get a political point of view on things. Sometimes you get a view on what is going on which isn’t necessarily accurate. To have that view challenged by someone in the know is very useful.”

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