Businesses share their perspectives on the economy with the Bank of England, at Doncaster Chamber event

An assortment of Doncaster businesses were invited to a roundtable discussion earlier this week, where they had a chance to speak face-to-face with senior delegates from the Bank of England.
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Organised by the local Chamber of Commerce, this was a valuable opportunity for attendees to share their perspectives on the various financial pressures they are currently facing — as well as where they feel more support is needed — with those who are at the very heart of economic decision-making in the UK.

In terms of the latter, the Bank of England was represented at this forum by Jonathan Haskel, an Independent Member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), and his colleague Alex Golledge, Regional Agent for Yorkshire & Humber.

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Together, the pair listened attentively as businesses told them all about their present hardships, the trends that they are observing in supply chains, and the general state of the labour market right now.

Attendees at Monday's eventAttendees at Monday's event
Attendees at Monday's event

Having gleaned fresh insights from the ensuing discussion, they are now better informed about how the Bank’s looming decision on interest rates will ultimately affect firms on the ground.

As for those local organisations in the room, Doncaster was represented here by some of its most innovative and exciting SMEs, as well as a selection of anchor employers from across the city.

Featuring a diverse range of sectors, the event was attended by the likes of Haith Group, HSR Law Solicitors, King Asia Foods, Finance for Enterprise, Fenwood Estates Ltd, Carley Consult Ltd and Mott MacDonald Ltd.

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Over the course of a two-hour session, which took place on Monday, June 12, at Rossington Hall, these delegates covered a lot of ground. Issues related to the labour market inevitably dominated much of the conversation, with businesses articulating just how difficult they are finding it to attract and retain talent at the moment.

The Bank of England round tableThe Bank of England round table
The Bank of England round table

Both SMEs and larger corporations alike reported that they are having to alter their recruitment strategies, owing to various factors like: an expectation that people can work from home more often; a scarcity of experienced candidates for certain roles; and the associated challenges of keeping up with wage increases.

Elsewhere, there was also incisive discussion about the knock-on effect of soaring fuel prices, the financial implications of meeting Net-Zero requirements, and how pre-COVID demand has not necessarily returned for all industries.

Reflecting on the event, Emma Norton, Head of Policy and Communications at Doncaster Chamber, said: “As we go through these turbulent times in the economy, it’s crucial that the voice of our business community is being heard by those with the power to make a difference.

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“This roundtable was an ideal forum for Doncaster’s SMEs and major employers to have their say and to make sure that the Bank of England truly understands their perspective. A lot of interesting topics were broached here, we had an opportunity to really explore the big issues and emerged with a much deeper appreciation for how all of these complex challenges interrelate.

“It was also encouraging to see that our policymakers are taking the time to attend events like these and that they are serious about listening to the private sector.”

"I hope that they came away from the experience with a lot to think about and fresh insights that will, in turn, help them make the best decisions in the future for our businesses and the wider economy.”

Having attended the roundtable, Duane Hill, Managing Director of Haith Group, said: “It was a privilege to be given the opportunity to openly discuss current challenges we are facing as a business with someone at the heart of UK Monetary Policy. Thank you to Doncaster Chamber for organising the event and giving business leaders like myself a voice at a national level with such an important institution.”

Monday’s session was part of ongoing series of roundtable discussions that are organised by Doncaster Chamber. These take place on a regular basis, with the aim of getting influential figures and business leaders together under the same roof, so that they can talk about the pressing issues of the day. For example, previous events have seen Chamber Members engaging directly with Oliver Coppard, Metro Mayor of South Yorkshire, with their respective MPs and with Doncaster Council.

To see what roundtables are coming up in the near future, as well as the rest of the Chamber’s events calendar, click here.