Business leaders have discussed what’s needed to drive the regeneration of the UK during a meeting with shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds in Hull.
The head of one of East Yorkshire’s leading SMEs said his organisation is eager to see a change of government at the next general election having thrived under previous Labour governments and now feeling let down by empty promises of levelling up.
Gerard Toplass, another key figure as group CEO of The 55 Group, hosted the visit at the headquarters in the Old Town of Hull. He said he was impressed with Mr Reynolds’ commitment to work with businesses to rebuild Britain.
Accompanied by Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy, Mr Reynolds welcomed nearly 20 corporate heavyweights and leaders of business organisations to a lunch and later returned to Bar 55 to meet some of the rising stars of the regional business community.
He also visited Centres for Digital Innovation, set up in Hull’s Fruit Market areas as a group of incubators to help tech companies grow and traditional businesses innovate.
Mr Reynolds said: “I have one of the most interesting jobs in the shadow government, having the chance to visit any business in the country working on Labour’s economic policies.
“It’s been fantastic visiting Hull and you have so much to be proud of here with carbon capture and storage and companies working on technology to measure how people are heating their homes.
“My job is to listen and learn and try to put forward policies that will help. I can’t run people’s businesses for them but hopefully I can influence the business environment in which they work.”
He told the young entrepreneurs: “You are going to live through a time of incredible change and incredible opportunity. You should not be nostalgic for the past but you should seek to want to make the most of the changes. Many of the big economic and social problems we face are the result of not handling change well.
“The deal that younger people in the UK have right now compared to previous generations is a far less attractive one. We need to engage with younger people in the political system and appeal for people of all ages to care about the political system.”