It’s tough for some to get to work in Rugby, says Jim Griffin, chairman of the Rugby branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in his monthly column
Since I took on the role as chair of this branch of the chamber, I have made it my task to meet as many local businesses as I can so I can find out the issues that are affecting companies in Rugby and the surrounding borough.
I have been delighted to welcome many of those business people to my company’s base on an informal basis to have a chat over a cup of coffee about what’s going well in Rugby and what could be improved from a business perspective.
I’ll start with the good news! Most companies are doing well and are happy doing business in Rugby, which is a positive sign.
The economic recovery is certainly becoming more sustained and local companies are feeling the benefit of that.
Unemployment is falling across Warwickshire as a whole and, generally, confidence is rising among the business community.
Companies are pleased with the role that the chamber is playing in the area and they see it is a great chance to meet, network and do businesses with other companies and organisations in the Rugby area.
Now, to the issues! Some are local and some are national but they also have an impact on the town and the surrounding borough.
One problem, which was raised at our most recent branch meeting and has been a theme through many of my meetings with businesses, is public transport to key employment sites in the area.
The main issue is around transport being available to cover varying shift patterns in places such as Crick and other commercial sites. It’s important that those who plan the routes and the timetables accommodate the fact that not everyone works 9am-5pm and it’s crucial for our local economy that this matter gets resolved.
As branch chair, I intend to take this up with the relevant authorities and bodies to see if there is a solution that can help businesses and employees get over this issue.
A national problem being felt locally is the rise of ‘pre-pack’ administrations that can leave small businesses unpaid and out of pocket by such schemes.
Again, this is a matter I intend to raise to see if there is an alternative solution but, because it’s a national issue, I may have to refer it to colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce.
On the whole, it’s been a great exercise which I fully intend to continue because I am learning more and more about Rugby and the great businesses we have here all the time.