Things looking up for the economy, says MP Letwin

Courtesy of the Dorset Echo10:00am Wednesday 24th September 2014

By Harry Hogger

WEST Dorset MP Oliver Letwin has told a meeting of Dorchester business representatives that there is plenty to be cheerful about with the state of the local economy.

Speaking at a meeting of the county town’s Chamber of Commerce, Mr Letwin said that he saw the national and local financial climate as an improving picture.

He said: “I think generally the picture of our economy, not just in West Dorset, but around the country as a whole, is really rather good.

“Things are in better shape than they were six months ago let alone a year or two years ago.

“I think the signs are that business is now pretty stable.”

Mr Letwin said that there was no such thing as a ‘risk free’ financial climate but said one of the key indicators of the area’s rude economic health was the low unemployment figure of just 0.8 per cent in West Dorset.

He said: “That’s a remarkably strong indicator of an economy that’s in good shape.

“We are employing new people, they are productive and in continued employment.”

Mr Letwin said there was still work to do, particularly around making sure that sufficient infrastructure was in place to make Dorchester and West Dorset an attractive place for people to come to work and live in.

That was why he was particularly pleased with plans to ramp up proposals for superfast broadband in the county town.

Mr Letwin said: “We have to move into an era in which we cannot expect people to live or do business without broadband.”

He also highlighted the work of the community in Cerne Abbas, who had come up with their own neighbourhood plan to guide future development and claimed this could provide a lead for other communities to follow.

Mr Letwin said: “I think if we have the infrastructure, the skills and the homes to put people in, there is a real chance to take forward our economy.”

A total of 65 people attended the networking meeting at Kingston Maurward, the Chamber’s highest ever attendance.

The next Chamber breakfast meeting is at the Rajpoot restaurant in Dorchester’s High West Street on Tuesday, October 14 and will include a talk from chairman of the Dorchester BID Mike Reed.

For information visit dorchesterchamber.co.uk/events/.