Coventry City Council vows to keep economy growing in meeting with business

(Left to right): Kevin Maton, David Penn, Chris West, Paul Carvell, David Cockcroft, Blake Timms

Coventry City Council has underlined its commitment to keep the local economy growing at a meeting with business leaders.

Cllr Kevin Maton, cabinet member for business, enterprise and employment; David Cockroft, assistant director for city centre and development services; and Chris West, executive director for resources, met the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Coventry branch.

Part of the meeting was an opportunity for the council to consult local business on its budget for the next financial year which West said would be a ‘consolidation year’ for the City Council.

He outlined how the reduction in the grant from central government had changed the way local government across the UK could raise money for services but said there would be little impact on business.

Companies also heard how a proposed devolution deal for the West Midlands could bring additional investment to Coventry in terms of infrastructure, the city centre development and new homes.

Cllr Maton said: “Growing the economy is vital for jobs and, in the changing financial landscape, is crucial for the city council to be able to fund services.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the conditions for growing the economy are set and that does, at times, mean some tough choices.

“We believe there are clear benefits from the route we are taking and that the benefits will be felt by the whole of the city.”

David Penn, the chair of the Coventry branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said it was a positive meeting.

He said: “The Chamber has set its agenda for 2016 as the year that this region must Go For Growth and we are pleased to hear that the City Council is actively pursuing economic growth.

“We heard about matters such as HS2 and devolution and while they are controversial it’s important that, as businesses, we can see how we can make the most of them to help Coventry’s economy grow.

“There are barriers to growth, however, and it’s important that we continue to work with the City Council – as well as bodies such as the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership – to see where we can find ways of overcoming them.”