Businesses brief Emma Hardy MP as part of her Big Conversation

Skills, staff shortages and the cost of living were some of the issues raised with Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy as businesses in the constituency joined her Big Conversation.

Charlotte Theill of Nordic House, Emma Hardy MP and Robert Jackson of KFM Recruitment.

Business organisations including the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, HullBID and the Federation of Small Businesses took part in the briefing along with representatives of large and small companies including Associated British Ports, KCOM, KFM Recruitment, St Stephen’s Shopping Centre, RSM UK and Wykeland.

The event, which took place at Nordic House in Hull, was also attended by key figures from Hull City Council and Making Changes for Careers, which supports people aged 16-29 who are not in employment, education or training and who would like to start their own business.

Ms Hardy said: “The Big Conversation is all about finding out the thoughts and feelings of constituents about the issues they face and feeding their responses into my Parliamentary Action Plan.

“Businesses are a big part of that and we usually meet the various organisations individually, but because of diary issues we had to take a different approach this year and bring them all together in one session.

“I was expecting energy costs and the cost of living to be high on the agenda but it was a surprise to hear the concerns about skills, particularly at Level 2, and seems to me we need to be looking closely at that area.

“We also discussed the need for better communication skills in the workforce and we talked about the shortage occupations list, which some business organisations would like to see reviewed. Transport is another priority locally and regionally, and the clear message was that uncertainty is at the heart of all the concerns.

“I found it a very informative and helpful session and the feedback from delegates suggested they learned a lot from the discussion. I’m grateful to all of them for taking the trouble to attend and we will now look at how we can maintain that contact.”

Kathryn Shillito, Executive Director of HullBID, said: “We have taken part in the Big Conversation with Emma every year and we see it as a great opportunity for us to keep her informed about the city centre business community.

“One of our key tasks is to connect our members with the main influencers and decision-makers and we have achieved that recently in supporting events led by Cllr Mike Ross, the Leader of Hull City Council and by the Director General of British Chambers of Commerce.

“We were delighted that some of our member businesses were also able to attend and that they made significant contributions with their frank, first-hand input about what it’s like doing business in Hull city centre.”

Charlotte Theill, Manager of Nordic House, which is based in the Danish Church building in Hull city centre, said: “We are new to the business events scene so we welcomed the opportunity to host such a high level yet informal briefing.

“It was a very interesting and enlightening discussion and in addition to learning from the experience of the other businesses I hope the delegates gained a greater awareness of how we can help the business community.”