Dear All,

Many apologies for my silence, staff shortages here have meant that some key communications have not been done and that includes a regular communication to you. I hope things are going well in your part of the county and your Chamber is in good heart! Please be aware that Suzi Cumberland has now left the Chamber and Lesley Shorrocks has been appointed as Deputy Chief Executive.

Thank you to all of you who encouraged Members to fill in the autumn Quarterly Economic Survey. The response was good – geographically from all parts of the county and by sector. The results of the survey have been presented in the Quarterly Economic Report that has been widely circulated. A copy is attached.

Most of you will have heard that Ben Rhodes has moved on from Devon and Cornwall Business Council. Devon Chamber has always had a good relationship with DCBC. Our neighbouring counties have been less supportive. Devon has offered to broker a better and more cohesive relationship between the Chambers and DCBC. Those discussions have still to taken place but if you have any comments about this I would be pleased to hear from you. Regional cohesion is becoming ever more important with the growing Great South West initiative being led by the three South West LEPs. Are you aware of the South West Growth Summit to be held at Sandy Park on 20 October. I will be there. If you want to know more contact me. The county Chambers from the four south west counties will be getting together to talk about our interrelationships. Once again if you have any comments let me know.

You may be aware that Richard Stevens Chair of Devon Chamber was appointed to the Heart of the South West LEP and is leading on business engagement. He is keen to beef up business representation on the LEP Business Advisory Board (which currently feels like a local authority committee with an FSB rep and me representing business). If you would like to know more or have any suggestions please be in contact. Richard is keen to see a strong Chamber representation at the LEP Conference on Friday 10 November at Somerset County Cricket Ground in Taunton. I have arranged for Devon Chambers to have a presence in the main hall and it would be great to have your pop up stands and literature to display participation fro right across the county. Can you please contact me if your Chamber would like to take part and I will ensure that there is room for all of us.

We are starting to arrange the monthly meetings with MPs. These are round table discussions with about 20 Members designed to feedback key issues. I know some of you do this on your patch with your MP. Key issues that have arisen so far are: Brexit (surpise surprise), Business Support, Failure of South West to gain infrastructure money particularly for rail, Telecom “Not” spots, Broadband, Skills. If you would like us to partner with you at one of these events please let us know.

Devon Chamber is about to launch its new Web Site which will have a comprehensive events calendar. We are keen that your events are included on this to demonstrate the depth and richness of Business events in Devon. Somerset Chamber does this working with its affiliates. Once launched we will be giving you the opportunity of updating your entries. More anon

Lastly if you think another meeting is overdue or you have any other issues which you think we as a county should address do not hesitate to be in touch

Best Wishes

George Cowcher
Chief Executive
Devon chamber