MP Craig Tracey tipping North Warwickshire’s high streets to emerge stronger from Covid 19

Craig Tracey

North Warwickshire MP Craig Tracey is tipping the region’s high street businesses to build on the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation as they emerge from the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Tracey was speaking with companies on a Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce #PolicyHour video call after visiting high streets in Bedworth, Atherstone, Coleshill and Polesworth to gauge the mood and concerns of small businesses.

And despite UK GDP falling by 20.4 per cent during the second quarter, GDP grew by 8.7 per cent in June – a statistic that Tracey is keen for North Warwickshire businesses to hold on to.

He said: “I believe we are starting to see the shoots of a recovery, as seen by the GDP statistics for June, and should give businesses increasing optimism as they look to the future.

“The country – and North Warwickshire – are emerging from one of the most challenging periods on record, but from talking to business owners and shop keepers across the region, a big theme has been that it has created an opportunity for businesses to hit the pause button and reflect on their strengths and weaknesses.

“The beauty of owning a smaller business is that it is a lot easier to react and adapt to situations, and many firms I’ve spoken to can’t believe just how much social media and digital channels have helped them to adapt during the pandemic. 

“We are now seeing more shops using click and collect services and home delivery, which has worked well for the most vulnerable people in our communities who have had to shield.

“Diversification into products and services has also been key for some companies to stay relevant to its customers during lockdown, and this entrepreneurial approach of spotting gaps in the market needs to continue so that both our region and the wider country can continue to thrive.

“The pandemic has also enabled us to re-evaluate Great Britain PLC, and I’d love to see our region increasing its contribution to the national effort in manufacturing more of our own products moving forward, not just for our own consumption, but to be able to export and strengthen our economy.

“Shopkeepers across Bedworth, Atherstone, Coleshill and Polesworth – who have been among the unsung heroes during this period – have all spoken about how more people have been coming out to support their local shops, and we need this to be one of the lasting economic legacies of the pandemic.

“As a previous business owner myself I know first hand the challenges that come with running a company, so would urge them to initially contact the Chamber first for some initial advice, or contact me directly.”

Tom Mongan, chair of the North Warwickshire branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and also Vice President, added: “Having been involved in manufacturing for the best part of 50 years, I have used the Chamber’s #PolicyHour sessions to speak directly to elected officials about support packages that will benefit the sector that my business operates in, and help to rebuild the economy and kickstart a recovery. 

“Never has there been a more important time for local businesses to have a line of communication into Government either via the Chamber or their local MP, and it was reassuring for our members to hear from Craig on the work he has been doing in terms of helping businesses to access funding and helping them to interpret Government guidance.”