Lord Hutton to lead new business forum

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Former Business Secretary Lord Hutton is to become the first chair of the newly-formed Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Economic Forum.

The new forum, which will launch formally in June, will “embed a strong, independent, and diverse local business voice” for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly at the heart of local and national Government.

Its aim will be to provide strategic challenge and business advocacy to Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly, influencing business policy, and “empowering the private sector to assist in determining economic strategies and interventions, shaping investment and better aligning workforce and skills provision influencing policy makers and investors at local, national, and international levels to promote economic growth in the region”.

Under the chairmanship of Lord Hutton, who brings a wealth of experience in economic growth, the forum will look to reach out to the Duchy’s business, opinion formers and policy makers to develop and promote a strong and stable economy in the region.

Cornwall Council Leader, Linda Taylor, said: “Having a voice in Westminster is so important, and to have Lord Hutton, who is respected across the political spectrum, fighting Cornwall’s corner is fantastic news for our business community.

“The first order of business for the forum will be the endorsement of Cornwall’s new ten-year economic strategy which will set an ambitious private sector powered trajectory for growth until 2035.”

The news has been greeted enthusiastically by Cornwall’s business community. Cornwall Chamber chair, Laura Whyte, said: “We are excited by the appointment of Lord John Hutton as the chair of the new Economic Forum, we believe his strong business background, and the ability to ensure Cornwall & Isles of Scilly can be heard in the corridors of Westminster, can only be a positive step in highlighting the great things we are achieving in this part of the world.”

Lord Hutton added: “I am delighted to take on this role and to act as an advocate and ambassador for Cornwall’s business community.

“There are great opportunities ahead of us and I look forward to working closely with businesses to secure the best possible economic future for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

John Hutton was elected to Parliament in 1992 and served as the MP for Barrow and Furness until 2010. He served in the Cabinet under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as Work and Pensions Secretary, Business Secretary and Defence Secretary.

Since leaving politics he has served on the board of public and private companies and chaired national trade associations including Energy UK and the Nuclear Industries Association. He currently chairs the board of Pearson Engineering, a defence company on Tyneside. He lives on the Roseland.