Harrogate business leader positive town can beat tough times as Chancellor prepares crucial Autumn Statement
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As Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepares to deliver his tax and spending plans in the House of Commons next week amid a flatlining economy, Sue Kramer, President of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, said she was confident the Christmas season would see a major boost to the local economy.
"The retail and hospitality sectors have seen tough challenges with Covid in recent years,” she said.
"Yet again, this Christmas we face uncertainty in consumer spending due to fuels costs and the cost of living eating into everyone’s pockets.
“The lack of growth, together with a gloomy demand forecast do not make for comfortable reading.
"The retail sector on the high street continues to face battles against online shopping.
"My attitude is, let’s try focus on the positives.
"Harrogate Harrogate is a beautiful town to live and work in and there are some brilliant ideas like "Shop Local” built on personal service and expertise which keeps money circulating locally.”
The Chamber president’s comments follow a series of negative news on the economy nearly two years after lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Official figures show the UK economy failed to grow at all between July and September.
The latest NatWest Yorkshire & Humber PMI® Business Activity Index shows that demand conditions facing businesses in Yorkshire & Humber in October are the weakest of the 12 monitored parts of the UK.
But the President of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, who has been the owner of an independent retail business in Harrogate town centre for more than three years, is confident a festive campaign to boost footfall – including Harrogate Christmas Fayre – will bring back the sparkle.
"Christmas can be a critical trading period for sustaining quieter months,” said Sue Kramer.
"But Harrogate has fantastic Christmas events lined up to attract both visitors and locals into town.
"I remain positive that business levels over the festive period will prove the gloomy forecasts inaccurate.”