Yesterday morning was a busier than usual breakfast meeting for the North Devon Manufacturers Association (NDMA). For this was no ordinary meeting; we were pleased to be joined by Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable.
On his arrival Vince had a chat with Sue Roberts of Dymond Engineering and expressed his interest at the number of manufacturing companies in the Barnstaple and North Devon area.
After breakfast Vince addressed the group to talk about the “what” of the current economic situation, and the “how” of moving it forward, before taking questions from the floor. He drew an analogy with a patient who has suffered a critical heart attack for whom the life support mechanism (‘cheap money’) is still in place, and talked about business investment and exports to emerging markets as the medicine for the future recovery. He also talked about taking more and more finance opportunities out of the traditional banks and making them accessible through other funding institutions.
Whilst he told us nothing much new, he did mention the much needed business rates review which will hopefully bring the long-wanted relief to retailers; he also surmised that if there was to be a housing bubble the Bank of England would likely act to cap mortgages next year. But much of the government policies and funding pots he talked about are unlikely to have any direct impact on SME manufacturing businesses in North Devon.
Even so it was great to see Vince in Barnstaple and interesting to hear what he had to say. Thanks for taking the time to visit us.