District takes business case to No 10
By Simon Hacker | 20th November 2023
Stroud may have missed the boat on its bid for £17.6m of central government Levelling Up cash back in January, but the entire district is hopeful that new opportunities for support may be possible.
In that spirit of optimism, Tony Davey, chair of Stroud District Chamber of Trade and Commerce, travelled to Number 10 Downing Street to meet Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Minister, Michael Gove, having been invited to attend a meeting through Stroud's Conservative MP, Siobhan Baillie. Ian Mean, Vice Chair of GFirstLEP and Director of Business West for Gloucestershire was also in attendance.
Mr Davey told Punchline-Gloucester.com he felt that Mr Gove "got it" and that the occasion - a "Levelling Up Champions" reception – was more than a mere photo opportunity.
Mr Davey said: "It was the ideal opportunity to promote the Stroud District and discuss how successful levelling up bids can transform our towns for everyone who lives, works and visits there. I enjoyed my chat with the Secretary of State, and look forward to announcements in the upcoming Autumn Statement that may benefit our local economy and those who thrive in it."
Mr Gove gave him a positive recognition, he added, that investment in the Stroud district was important.
He said: "The whole levelling up bid for us is holistic as a benefit both to tourism and the community," adding that future long-term bids needed to be "more meaningful for long-term benefit".
He added: "Will we get help? Who knows, but as an independent councillor who is not affiliated, I got the impression that he understands the challenges to our local economy and our needs across rural areas. We need to invest but it has to be a collaborative approach and not one that is just down to Stroud District Council."
Hosted by Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP, the reception also provided an opportunity to both hear more about schemes across the UK and to network with other business community champions and project implementers.
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