Last week I held a meeting to launch the new Chamber of Commerce in Dartmouth. Following the example of successful local Chambers such as Brixham, the third largest in Devon, I hope to ensure that every business across South Devon will have the representation that it needs to thrive.
In the run-up to last week’s meeting, we conducted a local survey to identify the areas of concern for businesses in Dartmouth and to gauge their thoughts on areas for improvement. The most striking feedback from over one hundred local businesses was the sense of optimism for the future. Over 60% of businesses stated they were optimistic about their future and that of their local economy.
Having faced down the pandemic and the hike in energy costs, it is perhaps unsurprising to see so many looking ahead with more optimism. To build up resilience in business models is exactly the purpose of Chambers of Commerce.
Across South Devon, these volunteer-led Chambers of Commerce are helping to promote and support the extraordinary range of organisations that are in turn bolstering our economy, providing world-class products and services while also providing the jobs we need.
I look forward to working with all Chambers of Commerce so that I can learn first-hand about the challenges they face and support them and their members as they seize the opportunities before them.
Fishing for the future
Some have been quick to condemn Brixham’s success as England and Wales’s most valuable fishing port. The continued high prices and steady sales are only benefiting the town, the fishermen and the local economy. Our fishing communities, like all coastal communities, are precious, important and need protection.
Over the last three years, I have worked constantly with local fishermen to secure grants and funding through schemes such as the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme, as well as continually highlighting the fishing sector in Parliament. As Chair of the Shellfish Aquaculture All-Party Parliamentary Group, I can see first-hand the huge opportunities we have not just to produce high-quality seafood but also to ensure our coastal waters are playing a hand in combatting climate change.
Such progress can be made through new technology like the kit that is being trialled by Fishtek. Their products, that help to reduce by-catch as well as change how we fish, are set to benefit the whole fishing industry. However, this innovation needs to be supported by industry groups as well as by the Government.
It is possible to clean our waters, build our fish stocks, produce food and sequester carbon all at the same time. To do so requires every fisherman, industry organisation and Government Department to be progressive as well as willing to trial the new technology. After all, fortune favours the brave.
Last call for my Careers Fair, taking place on Thursday 12th October at South Devon College. This year’s Post-18 Futures Fair has already had a huge level of interest, so if you are a business, student or parent who wants to know more then please get in touch by emailing: email@example.com.