Businesses in York and North Yorkshire heard from two of the area’s local MPs recently, for the first time since the General Election.
Rachael Maskell and Julian Sturdy, parliamentary representatives for York Central and York Outer respectively, spoke to 80 businesses at The Grand, and stayed on to field several questions and make new contacts afterwards.
The two MPs agreed on several matters but there were areas of difference too. Julian outlined how the proposed devolution bids covering York can help businesses, residents and tourists. Rachael highlighted the city’s “care crisis” as a priority. In relation to city centre development and spatial planning, Julian preferred high quality office space to Rachael’s call for social housing.
Transport and the lack of a local plan were inevitably high up on the list of issues to be tackled, while questions from the floor also covered the cost of HS2 and Britain’s future within the EU. On devolution, the audience heard how each of the bids to government that include York (there are four) had pros and cons for the city. A ‘Greater Yorkshire’ geography had a cohesive and complementary plus over a ‘town and city’-led Leeds City Region area.
York & North Yorkshire Chamber President Ed Everard said afterwards: “While Julian is now an old hand at meeting our members at this annual event, it was the first time for Rachael. I thought that both MPs conducted themselves very well and took the opportunity to set out what they see as the priorities for the city, and how they should best be tackled. The Chamber will be following up on Rachael and Julian’s parliamentary activities and voting records in due course and checking back with them at regular intervals.”
The York Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting was the first time that Labour’s new MP Rachael had spoken to Chamber members. Previous incumbent Sir Hugh Bayley had, along with Julian, a Conservative, made it an annual event. The event was chaired/co-hosted by York President Ed Everard and West & North Yorkshire Chamber Chief Executive Sandy Needham.
Photo (L-R): Sandy Needham, Rachael Maskell, Julian Sturdy, Ed Everard, Bridget Davies