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County Durham businesses invited to help shape county’s economic strategy

County Durham businesses are being invited to have their say on a wide range of issues that affect them as part of a large-scale  consultation into shaping the economic future of the county.

Durham County Council launched its three-month long ‘Big Econ-versation’ in January and is seeking views from people and businesses across County Durham on a wide range of topics, covering everything from jobs, wages, education and climate change to health, housing, transport and levelling up to help shape its Inclusive Economic Strategy.

As part of the consultation, Business Durham, the business support service for the council, is holding a breakfast meeting on Tuesday 29th March at Durham County Cricket Club in Chester-le-Street where businesses can attend to share their views.

Durham County Council Leader, Councillor Amanda Hopgood will be hosting the event with John McCabe, Chief Executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, and delegates will hear from a panel of business leaders who will provide a perspective from their own businesses and sectors about the economic challenges and opportunities in County Durham. Topics will include Durham’s position in the region, levelling up and devolution, sector strengths and opportunities and the green agenda.

During the event, businesses will be able to ask questions and join the discussion in order to help inform the development of the Inclusive Economic Strategy. The strategy will harness the county’s strengths, address areas for improvement and understand what people from all walks of life wish to see from their county across a range of diverse issues.

Shaped by residents and businesses, the strategy will become a comprehensive, inclusive plan for County Durham to help it achieve its growth ambitions and secure further investment and support from regional and national private and public sector organisations until 2023.

Cllr Hopgood said:  “We’re encouraging businesses of all shapes and sizes from across the county to get involved with our Big Econ-versation and have their say on a wide range of important issues.  By sharing their views, experiences, knowledge, and ambitions they will help us create the kind of economy we need for County Durham.

“This affects everyone living and working in County Durham, so we strongly believe that people should have their say on what our economy looks like in the future. By taking part in our survey and consultation events businesses will help us to attract and secure the right investment and support we need.

“We want a County Durham that creates opportunities for everyone, makes a real difference to people’s lives and helps us grow in every way possible. ”

John McCabe, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “I’m delighted to be part of this event.  It’s so important that the County’s employers are at the very heart of this economic strategy, to ensure their views and other stakeholders, help shape its future development. There is huge potential in County Durham and this discussion is an excellent start to unlocking it all.”

The breakfast meeting is taking place between 8:30am and 10:30am on Tuesday 29th March. To find out more and to register attendance, visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/econ-versation-consultation-event-tickets-292261159997.

More information about the Big Econ-versation can also be found on the Business Durham webpage https://www.businessdurham.co.uk/our-big-econ-versation/ .

The deadline for views and comments is 5pm on Friday 22 April.   A first draft of the Inclusive Economic Strategy will be produced in summer 2022 and, following a formal consultation process, the final document is expected to be launched in autumn 2022.

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