Business action group launched to save Shrewsbury's economy

Businesses in Shrewsbury have launched an action group to try to save the town's economy after a devastating year of flooding and Covid-19.

Shrewsbury High Street and Wyle Cop
Shrewsbury High Street and Wyle Cop

Business Action Group Shrewsbury has been set up as the town battles with huge economic challenges. Just last week it was announced that Waitrose at the top of Pride Hill and New Look in the Pride Hill Shopping Centre will be closing.

Paul Forrest, group chairman and head of research at the West Midlands Economic Forum, said: "Businesses in Shrewsbury have decided, as a result of the recent challenges, to work together, pooling their knowledge to develop a comprehensive response to sustain the social and economic fabric of the town,

"After firstly, the most devastating floods in two decades, secondly the most virulent pandemic in a hundred years, thirdly the largest economic contraction in three centuries, and lastly the future prospect of the highest levels of unemployment in possibly 90 years, the town is confronted with considerable challenges.

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"With the new restrictions expected to be in place for six months at least, the furlough scheme coming to an end next month, the EU transition period ending on December 31 and no real recovery in economic growth anticipated until after Easter next year at the earliest, the town is being buffeted by severe pressures.

"Shrewsbury in 2019 was a distinctive and complex town, a hive of activity encompassing both major national brands as well as an enviable concentration of independent shops and retailers. The Business Action Group (BAG) recognises the need to ensure the pressures of 2020 are really only temporary. By developing a response as a business community, based on each individual enterprise’s experience and aspirations, the BAG aims to provide Shropshire Council and Parliament with effective responses that can restore sustainable and inclusive growth.

"The issues the BAG will immediately examine the need for are: clarification of current Covid-19 restrictions and what that means for the town, and transparent information flows in future; post furlough employment training and support packages; future SME business support; the level of business rates, and national comparison; local infrastructure investment and council strategies that could support the town."

The group will hold its first public meeting, via Zoom, on Monday, September 28 at 11am. To register for the Zoom Meeting go to the Facebook page Business Action Group Shrewsbury.

For further information contact Paul Forrest, either via mobile 07709 551253 or email paul.forrest@westmidlandseconomicforum.co.uk

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