With concerns being expressed about jobless figures continuing to rise throughout the country, there’s no hiding from the fact there is much work to be done to improve our economy.
While West Sussex and the Chichester district in particular have until now not been hit especially hard by the recession, there’s no doubt the public sector cuts we are now experiencing are placing an added strain on our area which is hard to absorb.
Which is exactly why campaigns such as the Newspaper Society’s Local Business Accelerators initiative which the Observer has backed over the past month has been hailed a success across the country.
Chichester has been no exception and we have had some quality entrants from which I am sure our panel of independent mentors will find it a tough choice to decide on who is destined to receive three months’ free advertising in our pages and valuable mentoring.
On another note, feedback to Chichester’s confirmed plans for its Business Improvement District has been largely positive.
However, I’ve also noted some concern from residents over whether the BID team did in fact have a proper mandate for the scheme.
The simple answer is the fact more than 600 firms were given the chance to vote, and the majority of those who returned their ballot papers did in fact vote in favour of it, makes it as representative as it could be. There’s clearly a strong argument Chichester firms are already paying more than enough in business rates, but this really was a golden opportunity to create a dedicated fund for genuine improvements within the city.
Let us hope it does indeed deliver on the innovative schemes which it has outlined so far.