Chambers in talks over joint company

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THE Bradford Chamber and the Leeds, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce are exploring the possibility of forming a joint company.

In a statement issued today, the chambers said they were in good financial health and already shared some activities.

In a joint statement, the chambers said: “The chambers represent businesses of all sizes, sectors and areas of the geographical area and feel they can do more to offer networking opportunities and access to a wider range of services if they share activities. Both organisations also deliver publicly funded business support, which are increasingly being planned across local authority boundaries.”

Leeds President Nigel Foster said: “We think that we could provide more for members if we join forces. At a local level, we already do a good job, but if we’re speaking on behalf of mote than 2,500 members across Leeds, Bradford, York and North Yorkshire, then we will carry more weight with decision-makers in the region and nationally. There is a high concentration of businesses, particularly in the three cities and we can do more to work with them. We know that many companies work across the current boundaries”.

Bradford President Paul Mackie added: “Besides being the voice of business, we want to do more to help make running a business easier and to enable companies to be more competitive, including through exporting. We’re already doing that through Chamber International, working with the Leeds City Region “We are international” campaign. That campaign has demonstrated that through working together we facilitate members to help each other, provide connections that don’t happen naturally and really make a difference.”

The area covered by the two current organisations has a population of 1.4m, around 47,000 businesses and a GVA (Gross Value Added) economic measurement of almost £30bn. Through any change, which will have to be supported by existing members, there will continue to be local representative groups, sector groups and presidents.

The statement added: “The aim will be to retain the local identity and engagement and to add to the offer without increasing the cost to business by sharing the back-room services.

“It is too soon to give the fine detail as the organisations need to consult and shape the next stage of development. Both parties agree that the key focus is to make sure that any changes are good for business.”