Fourth from the left, Graham Cole of Agusta Westland UK will lead the Cole Commission Report.
Nick Hill

South Yorkshire firms given significant influence over government report

South Yorkshire firms will now have a major influence over an independent report into how government can better support exporters.

Graham Cole, chairman of AgustaWestland UK, has been tasked with leading the Cole Commission Report, which will address the UK’s 30-year-plus trade deficit.

Mr Cole is also working with trade bodies, including the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Confederation of British Industry, and their members, to help identify problems and find solutions.

Following the publication of his interim report earlier this month, Mr Cole, along with Ashley Shackleton, the BCC’s senior public affairs manager, visited Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and South Yorkshire International Trade Centre (SYITC) to meet “real” city businesses.

Nick Patrick, head of international trade at SYITC, said: “Mr Cole’s visit was designed to offer an insight into what our city business region believes is needed if the UK is to meet its goal of £1tn of exports by 2020.

“The discussion was attended by five Yorkshire chambers of commerce including ours, the University of Sheffield, as well as five local firms - Micon Components, Sizer, 5-1-2 (Sheffield), Pryor Marking Technology and Sheffield Forgemasters.

“After the event Mr Cole told us it was ‘really helpful’ to talk to the Chambers and ‘real’ companies - and added that he left encouraged with the relevance of the Commission’s report and determined to drive through the changes proposed.”

The final Cole Commission Report, which will be published after the general election in June, is to be implemented by the new government.

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