Andy Duxbury

NW 2015: Cheshire must find its voice

As a committed Cheshire man, in accordance with Christmas tradition, I have three wishes for the county in 2015, writes Andy Duxbury.

1. That the positive economic news from businesses in the sub-region is strong enough to trump any political uncertainty that is will emerge in 2015. Like all professional advisers, we need our clients to be busy doing things and the worst thing that can happen is for businesses to sit on their hands whilst they await next year's general election and, depending on the outcome, any potential referendum on Europe. We don't want to see businesses go into their shell to avoid the turbulence that might be created.

2. That Cheshire finds its voice, and role, within the Northern Powerhouse debate. If the argument for devolution becomes dominated by the big cities along the M62 corridor, then I am fearful that Cheshire will be overlooked for its rightful share of future investment in businesses and infrastructure projects. Cheshire needs to shout ever louder that it is not just a great place to live but a region that is critical to the future economic prosperity of the North. After all, try building HS2 and Atlantic Gateway without involving Cheshire. So, we need our LEP to demonstrate strong leadership to ensure Cheshire remains at the heart of the agenda.

3. That big businesses across Cheshire & the North West recognise the great professional and financial services sector that exists in Cheshire. When it comes to advisers is it not the size of the reception but the strength and depth of the expertise that sits in those offices: businesses don't have to use City lawyers to get City quality, service and above all great value.

Andy Duxbury is chief executive of law firm Aaron & Partners LLP

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