The Business Leaders' Supper brought together a range of Bristol businesses and organisations to debate over the current state of the economy, the risks facings the UK and what's in store for Bristol and the UK post March 2019. Amongst the guests were representatives from Lloyds Banking Group, Grant Thornton, Business West, Bristol City Council and Alder King to name a few.
The discussion was moderated by leading economist Joe Nellis, a professor at Cranfield University. Professor Nellis shared his insight not only into the current state of the UK economy, but also the global economy which is picking up. Positive developments include high employment, that the UK is likely to see modest growth in 2017 and importantly that there has never been a better time to export. Professor Nellis also talked about the opportunities presented by the Apprenticeship Levy which will help plug skills gap in the long term.
Julian Kinsey, Partner and Head of the Bristol office, said: "Businesses in Bristol and across the whole of the UK are still bathing in the same uncertainty as they were last year after the Brexit referendum. With the snap election and a hung parliament, the direction of travel for businesses is still unclear. Last night's discussion was a good opportunity to reflect over the challenges that we have been faced with but also look ahead to seize the opportunities that are arising."
Professor Joe Nellis added: "Whilst it has been business as usual for many since the EU referendum, businesses and organisations in the UK need to be ready to face a number of challenges as we exit the EU, some of these include improving productivity and dealing with the effect of non-tariff barriers. The Business Leaders' supper was a good platform for Bristol businesses to reflect on the past 12 months and discuss how the city and the South West can continue to thrive in a post Brexit world."
Bristol is Bond Dickinson's second largest office where it employs more than 250 staff. In October, the firm will become Womble Bond Dickinson as it completes its transatlantic combination with US firm Womble Carlyle. Womble Bond Dickinson will have more than 420 partners and 1,000 lawyers across 8 offices in the UK and 15 offices in the US. The combination will put Womble Bond Dickinson in the UK’s top 20 and in the top 80 in the US listings.