Even as Steve Gardner-Collins, chairman of Visit Gloucestershire, picked over the details of the Queen’s Speech for positives, he knew one thing – a successful summer in 2022 is paramount for the county.
But before he had begun to digest so much as one word from Prince Charles, who delivered the annual statement of intent from the UK government, Gardner-Collins was already resolutely positive because of one key achievement.
It is one he attributes to everyone working in and connected to Gloucestershire’s visitor economy – that the county stands ready, united and on the front foot, like never before.
‘It is true that among the challenges, a united Gloucestershire, championing the cause of recovery, puts us in such a strong central position.
‘We can look forward to the summer with enthusiasm, with lots of opportunities to showcase everything we have to offer,’ said Gardner-Collins, who pointed to the investment that had delivered so many fantastic al fresco dining options county-wide as just one of the positive changes.
Creating ‘Great British Railways’ to deliver a better service for passengers and freight, as well as supporting better infrastructure for electric vehicles, were all points he picked out as positives from the Queen’s Speech, which should help better connect Gloucestershire.
‘The ‘county deal’, which will provide local leaders with powers to enhance local accountability, joined up services and provide transparent decision-making to rejuvenate communities, rejuvenates this sense of place that we’ve discovered during Covid,’ said Gardner-Collins.
But it remained, he said, about everyone doing their bit.
‘Discovering our doorsteps is all part of this continued sense of hyper local thinking, if we continue to think local, we protect and enhance the future of our destination. Think local, think Gloucestershire,’ he said.
Gardner-Collins’ comments were echoed to a large degree by Matthew Fell, the powerful Confederation of British Industry’s chief UK policy director, but not also without criticism.
‘Firms were looking for greater impetus on enabling legislation to speed up the race to zero, and action on business rates to stimulate investment and revive our high streets,’ said Fell.
‘The UK’s international competitiveness relies on playing to the economic strengths of our regions and nations. It’s time to turn these measures into swift and bold action.’
By Andrew Merrell
Thursday 12 May 2022
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