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Local Chamber Identifies Closing the Skills Gap, Developing Stronger Relationships and Helping Reboot Doncaster Sheffield Airport As Top Priorities For New Government

Doncaster City Centre 1

With the UK General Election now in the rear-view mirror, and the results having been announced earlier this morning, Doncaster Chamber is outlining its top priorities for the newly-formed Labour Government.

Seeking to reconcile the party’s own Manifesto pledges and the recently-published Doncaster ’35 (an optimistic, business-led document that envisions a more prosperous decade ahead for our city) the Chamber is specifically highlighting those key steps that Government can take to build confidence within South Yorkshire’s business communities.

Among other things, the asks here include: a call for Westminster to support the ambitions for our soon-to-be rebooted international airport; urgent action — based on Chamber-led Local Skills Improvement Plans — to tackle the skills gaps holding many employers back; and a broader commitment from central Government to work more strategically with places like Doncaster on matters relating to the economy.

Articulating all of this in a statement today, Dan Fell, Chief Exec of Doncaster Chamber, said: “We would like to congratulate the new Government upon its success at the General Election and are looking forward to collaborating with them to achieve great things on behalf of our city and employers. We also offer our congratulations to the MPs elected to serve Doncaster’s constituencies and look forward to working collaboratively with them in the interests of local business communities.”

“We are heartened by the explicit reference in Labour’s manifesto to how they intend to deliver growth through an ‘enduring partnership with business’ but, of course, business will judge success based on deeds not words.

“For us here in South Yorkshire, one of the top priorities would naturally be ensuring that Doncaster Sheffield Airport is able to maximise its potential once its doors do reopen. Our own vision for DSA — as detailed in Doncaster ’35 — is that it will be at the bleeding edge of aviation in just ten years’ time.

“For us to get to this stage, however, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. For instance, major carriers must be secured, the adjacent Gateway East site will need to be properly nurtured, core infrastructure will need investing in and, in the immediate future, DSA’s airspace also needs protecting. Government support will be vital in each of these respects.

“One area of overlap between Doncaster ’35 and the new Government’s stated priorities is workforce. After all, Labour have made it one of their primary missions to create an environment in the UK where ‘our children are equipped with the skills to thrive in the future’ and this chimes clearly with what businesses have called for in Doncaster ’35.

“Labour’s pledge to modernise the school curriculum will be a positive first step if it is done in a way that is truly cognisant of business skills needs. However, modernisation of the curriculum will be for nought if careers guidance is not also enhanced as a matter of urgency. Specifically, we would implore Government to make high-quality careers advice one of the key criteria for a successful Ofsted inspection going forward.

“All of these ambitions are in some way contingent upon Doncaster and South Yorkshire having a strong, constructive relationship with Westminster; that is why our final priority is to develop mature and collaborative partnerships in the first instance. We want Doncaster to be a place where Government works hand in glove with business, with the public sector and with our various other partners for the mutual benefit of all. Explicitly, this means moving beyond short-term competitive bids for limited resources and toward long-term ‘single pot’ funding settlements where decision making is devolved to local partners. If this can be achieved, it will be a positive step toward a bright future.”

Developed by Doncaster Chamber – with considerable input from the business community – Doncaster ‘35: A Manifesto for a Winning City is a forward-thinking plan that anticipates what the next ten years will have in store for Doncaster. You can read the document via the link below. 



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