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Fact finding visit to Harper Adams

The president of the British Chambers of Commerce met a group of Shropshire Chamber patrons during a fact-finding visit to the county.

Digital entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox, co-founder of Europe’s largest travel and leisure website, was guest of honour at the event, held at Harper Adams University.

She joined Shropshire Chamber patrons on a tour of the award-winning site near Newport including the veterinary school, engineering centre and working farm, before a networking lunch.

Baroness Lane-Fox, who has a seat in the House of Lords and was elected president of the BCC in October 2022, said: “Shropshire is such an interesting and varied county.

“I’m fortunate in my role to get a real sense of how businesses are performing, the concerns they have, and also what the next 10 years in this country is going to look like.

“I’m a curious person and I love learning about what’s going on. But more importantly, I’m a fully vested member of the UK who has started businesses here and had every benefit, and the most amazing career in this country.

“I care deeply about helping in my own small way to make it the best it can be by 2030. Building a great narrative about British business is a big part of that.”

She added: “Places and their particular challenges are different, but there are also some fundamental building blocks that are the same.

“I’m constantly hearing things as I travel around the country about infrastructure, skills, the pace of digitisation, transition to net zero, imports, exports and investments.

“There are very big similarities across businesses right now. For an incoming Government of any shade, they should listen to our 100,000 members, because we know what we are talking about.

“Business is front and centre of politicians’ minds at the moment. There doesn’t seem to be any debate about the fact that, without thriving businesses, we will not have the economy we want, or be able to deliver public services.”

“It’s fundamental economics – but it hasn’t always been as front and centre in an election. I think it will be this time.”

Shropshire Chamber chief executive Ruth Ross said: “It was fantastic to be able to welcome Martha. We’re grateful to her for sparing the time to speak with our patrons to hear first-hand about the issues that matter to them.

“She has the ear of many key decision-makers, so this is another example of how we are helping to make sure the voice of Shropshire business is heard in the corridors of power at Westminster.

“We must also say a big thank you to Professor Ken Sloan and his team at Harper Adams University for hosting us, and conducting such a fascinating tour of their world-class facilities.”

Pic: Shropshire Chamber chief executive Ruth Ross with BCC president Martha Lane-Fox, and Harper Adams University chief executive Professor Ken Sloan

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