Our annual business briefing was attended by a range of business leaders on Monday 17 January. The briefing, including forecasts on the national economy and local impacts of Brexit, can be watched on our YouTube channel

The briefing also covered topics such as our spending plans for the year ahead and progress on our vision for the town centre.

Cllr John Redpath, Lead Councillor for the Economy said: “The annual business briefing is an important part of our support for local business and a way we can hear from businesses, and they can hear from us.

 “Thank you to our keynote speakers Marcus Wright (Senior Economist at Royal Bank of Scotland) and Professor Amelia Hadfield (Head of the Department of Politics at the University of Surrey), who offered valuable insight into the economy and Brexit.”

The meeting was hosted by our Director of Strategic Services, Dawn Hudd. Along with our guests, speakers included Cllr Joss Bigmore (Leader of the Council) and Claire Morris (Director of Resources).

Sharing our vision for the town centre Leader of the Council, Cllr Joss Bigmore said: “For too long a lack of appropriate housing, the twin blights of traffic, congestion and pollution and the threat of flooding has constrained the ability of this borough to achieve its economic potential.

“We are determined to tackle these problems head on and provide an environment where your businesses can thrive. There are a number of exciting projects that will start this year.

 “However, above all these projects sits our most ambitious endeavour—Shaping Guildford’s Future. We need a masterplan for our town, and we need it to be informed by listening to those that live and work here. The Council’s ambition is to breathe new life into the town by opening up the riverside, reducing congestion, improving alternative sustainable and affordable transportation, as well as making the centre a more attractive place to live, work and visit.”

On the topic of our national economy, Marcus Wright added: “There are of course big unknowns. Omicron shows that we are susceptible to new variants, of course, and that is an ever-present risk. Putting that aside, I am optimistic. The sectors that have lagged in recovery, the most affected being the consumer-facing, can quite quickly get back to something more resembling normal.”

Marcus encouraged businesses to lean on help offered when it comes to climate action: “70% of businesses are either not intending to reduce emissions in the next 12 months or they are not sure on the actions they can take. If you feel a little bit in the dark about [climate action], what you can do and what you might do, you’re certainly not alone.”

We want to make sure that our briefings cater to the needs and interests of local businesses. That is why we want to hear your views on the event and will use it to inform the Business Briefing for 2023. Please give us your views.  

If you missed the event, it is available to watch on our YouTube channel. Please note that subtitles on this video are auto-generated.

View presentation slides: Annual Economic Forum Presentation Slides.pdf