Lunch with John Cridland CBE – Friday 23rd March 2018

Rutland businesses key to post-Brexit economy says former CBI chief

Businesses within a 50-mile radius of Rutland represent the engine for growth to drive a successful post-Brexit economy, claims former CBI chief John Cridland.

Mr Cridland outlined his vision for a new growth model as guest speaker at the Biz Club lunch, held at the Falcon Hotel in Uppingham, (Friday 23 March) in his current role as the independent chairman of Transport for the North.

A large number of guests heard that Northerners earn £5,000 less than Southerners with the impact also felt in the Midlands. Mr Cridland said the solution to getting the Northern and Midlands’ economies on the right track, includes increased investment in education, improved transport links and infrastructure.

He identified growth businesses as a key area for expansion, with medium sized businesses in counties such as Rutland ideally placed to grab a greater share of the global market.

He said: “The UK makes and sells world-class things from consumer goods to services. The new emerging economies such as Ethiopia, Columbia and Vietnam have serious money with a growing middle-class and they want to spend it on British goods.”

He added that the Government should focus on rural areas as well as cities to help close the wealth gap between the north and the south. “Looking post-Brexit, it won’t just be the big companies with familiar names we have all heard of that will drive the economy. It will be small to medium sized businesses we don’t know the names of, the forgotten army of the economy. These are the businesses you can find within a 50-mile radius of Rutland.”

Mr Cridland remains optimistic about the future but believes the Midlands and the North needs to get its engine motoring. “Entrepreneurs in the North and the Midlands can no longer be expected to rely on the dynamo of London, they need support to help them export their goods to global markets and to make and sell the things people want to buy.”

Biz Club President, Geoffrey Pointon gave Mr Cridland a vote of thanks for travelling so far to speak Biz Club members. He said: “We are very privileged to have John as our speaker this month, to hear from someone who is so closely involved in helping to regenerate the regions north of London. Rutland is at the heart of the country and ideally placed to benefit from his ambitious plans.”

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John Cridland
Geoffrey Pointon, John Cridland, Rachel Burkitt, Gordon Brown