Saqib Bhatti, MP for Meriden and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Business, visited Richardson HQ recently to speak at a roundtable event attended by a gathering of regional business leaders.
John Corser reported on the event for the Express & Star newspaper, with his article reproduced below:
'Saqib Bhatti, who is the Conservative Party's vice chairman for business engagement, attended a lunch hosted by investment business Richardson at its Oldbury headquarters.
Mr Bhatti, MP for Meriden since 2019, said after hearing from a group of business figures from across the Black Country that the Government was "very serious" about engaging with the business community.
He said it had been useful to meet manufacturers, lawyers and leaders of business groups.
Mr Bhatti said ministers would be going all over the country to talk to businesses and have an honest conversation about how to progress the economy.
"We can't do that without the private sector," he stressed.
Asked about the potential demise of the scandal-hit Confederation of British Industry and how the Black Country could makes its voice heard at Westminster, Walsall-born Mr Bhatti, a chartered accountant and former president of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said:
"The chambers of commerce have been a really strong voice for business in the region. You also have the West Midlands Mayor, who has a stellar business background."
"I am a Black Country boy and had a business in Birmingham. I have been speaking to the business community here all my life.
"The message I want to give is that we will listen and we will deliver for business," he added.
The round table session at the lunch was chaired by Richardson Chief of Staff Paul Faulkner and Martyn Richardson.
Those attending told Mr Bhatti they wanted to see the Government announce a cohesive detailed industrial strategy rather than delivering it is a fragmented fashion.
There was also a call for more certainty to be provided for Black Country businesses.
Those attending also called for investment in skills training, more support for start-ups, help for small manufacturing firms to be more productive and efficient and action to remove layers of bureaucracy in getting money from Government to support industry from the banks.'
John Corser's full report on the Richardson Business Lunch can be read here: