Western Gateway will be exciting development for business in 2020

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
24th December 2019

As we approach 2020, I am enthusiastic about the development of a great new focus for business in the region.

In Katherine Bennett, senior vice president of Airbus in Bristol, we have a formidable chairman of our new Western Gateway organisation.

It’s not the Western Powerhouse, as opposed to the Northern Powerhouse we have heard so much about in the last few years.

It is ours - not a carbon copy of the North’s model.

Yes, we can learn the lessons from the Northern Powerhouse.

But at long last, this region can now hopefully mould and develop the great business talents we have here into a powerful message that will grow our economy in the UK and worldwide.

Have we ever had a set of clear, unique selling points or USPs for this region?

Remarkably not.

Now, under the umbrella of the Western Gateway - made up of all our local authorities in Gloucestershire and the strength of business in Bristol, Newport and Cardiff, we are now getting our act together.

At long last.

It is a major piece of devolution to combine all our strengths.

I personally believe that it would be a lot stronger if we had more devolution in Gloucestershire with fewer councils.

We have a county council and six district councils with over 300 councillors.

But unitary local government here  is not going to happen anytime soon.

I am afraid that’s politics.

The Western Gateway is about driving the talents of this region.

It is about better communications, for instance. 

We have already seen in the last week a big step forward with more GWR trains direct to London, slashing journey times.

Yes, a lot more needs to be done but no journey starts without a single step.

And our Western Gateway must hold government to account to get business the support it deserves.

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