Businesses urged to shape vibrant economy manifesto

David Hillan, practice leader, Grant Thornton Birmingham

By David Hillan, practice leader at Grant Thornton in Birmingham

You’d think that as a tax partner the majority of my conversations with clients would be dominated by their tax affairs. And just a few years ago you’d have been spot-on. But today I’m far more likely to be talking to growing companies about much wider business issues, from whether they should expand overseas to tackling urgent training issues.

It was on the back of this changing business world that Grant Thornton launched its Vibrant Economy initiative on the premise that if our region and the wider economy grows then we all benefit. For me, this was brought into sharp focus in January when we hosted our West Midlands Inquiry, one of a number of events across the UK, where leaders from public, private and third sectors in the region discussed ideas and actions to shape a vibrant economy. Everyone who attended was enthusiastic about what a greater West Midlands could look like and how they could all play a part in making it happen.

An immediate benefit for me was the opportunity to connect with people, particularly from the social enterprise sector, who I would not normally meet. Since this inspiring day we have helped put people in touch with one another across a whole range of areas and made many new connections ourselves outside of our normal business networks. Only last week I met with a small growing business and was able to point them in the right direction on matters such as marketing and developing their business networks (and tax wasn’t mentioned at all in the meeting!).

This collaborative approach to doing business comes at a critical time. As we prepare to exit from the EU, there has never been a better time for us to come together, review and shape what sort of economy we want.

We are keen to relay to Government just what we’ve learnt from our discussions with organisations and communities across the country in a manifesto for a vibrant economy. We are setting out aims and recommendations under three broad headings:

Trust – because trust and integrity are at the heart of a vibrant economy;
Growth – to develop a long-term plan for growth that unlocks the full potential of the UK, and
Place – a vibrant economy is one where people and businesses in every part of the UK can thrive.

The more people who are able to become part of this the better. To review and contribute to the manifesto for a vibrant economy visit and submit your comments by 31st May 2017.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #VibrantEconomy