2013 set to be the year of Leeds, says Chamber president

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NEXT year is set to be a “fantastic” one for Leeds, according to president of the city’s Chamber, Nigel Foster, who has completed his first year in the position.

Speaking at the Leeds, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s annual lunch in Leeds, Mr Foster said: “Trinity Leeds opens in March 2013 followed later in the year by the Arena. The city will also play host to the Rugby League World Cup. All of this helps to create a platform to promote Leeds.”

He also welcomed the announcement that the Heathrow-Leeds Bradford Airport flight will be restored from December and referred to the upcoming unveiling of a master plan for improvements to Leeds City Station.

Mr Foster told the audience that 2011/12 had been a challenging year for many businesses, but that the Chamber’s most recent economic survey showed some positive signs. He said: “A year ago things looked to be moving in the right direction for the economy, the Chamber’s own surveys pointed to growth in export markets and even a slight recovery in domestic activity.

“Since the spring however we have seen a return to recession, with the troubles in the eurozone causing continuing uncertainty, a slow domestic economy, and consumer spending still well below pre-recession levels with individuals and companies choosing to pay down debt and sit on cash.”

But he said that there is evidence the private sector is making investments and creating jobs in Leeds, with healthcare technology firm Emis having created 289 jobs this year and law firm Dickinson Dees relocating to Leeds.

Stephen Kennedy, former chief operating officer of credit card insurer CPP Group, also spoke at the event.

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