The Humber region could become of the most economically dynamic areas of the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote, Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has said.
He is urging the region to ‘speak with one voice’ to secure its place on the national and international stages.
Mr Stuart made the comments while addressing a private gathering of business leaders at Tickton Grange, when he said: “We can get out there, and we can do business. The Humber is the UK’s busiest ports complex, we’ve got space, we’ve got institutions, we’ve got a history of entrepreneurship, we’ve got organisations like Marketing Humber Bondholders, and we’ve got infrastructure. Castle Street aside, our infrastructure is actually pretty good.
“There’s a real opportunity to build this area up as one of the most dynamic economic parts of the United Kingdom.”
The Conservative MP was joined at the event by business leaders from companies including ABP, AAK, Ørsted UK, the LEP, Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, the University of Hull, P&O Ferries and a host of the region’s SMEs.
Posing the question of what is holding the region back, Mr Stuart said there was a need to “get everyone on board” so it was speaking with a single voice.
“The best bit of networking advice I ever received is that everyone must agree to agree, because if you speak with multiple voices you’ll get nothing,” he said. “That way, every minister that ever comes here, whether the vice chancellor or the leader of the opposition, the Labour leader in Hull, the Tory leader in the East Riding or North Lincolnshire, they hear exactly the same thing in exactly the same way. If you do that, you’ll get what you asked for.”
As well as the Humber economy, Brexit was hotly debated on the night with members expressing some concern over the ongoing negotiations.
Darren Southwell, owner of Hessle-based Relay Port Agency, said: “We all have some concerns and issues – it is good to have Graham Stuart come here and speak about some of those issues. He gave some useful insight on the bigger, global markets.”
Alex Balchin, Brewery Production Manager at Wold Top Brewery, added: “It was a really fantastic opportunity to network with like-minded business people. It is always useful to get a political point of view on things. Sometimes you get a view on what is going on which isn’t necessarily accurate. To have that view challenged by someone in the know is very useful.”