Sir Terry Leahy praises work of IFB

Speaking at an IFB launch conference in London this week, former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy said that he wished Liverpool’s International Festival for Business (IFB) had been around when he had been in post 20 years ago.

Speaking at a “one year out” event for IFB 2016, Liverpool-born Sir Terry, talked about the importance of the IFB and its effects on the local economy.

The city was host for the hugely successful IFB 2014, which saw more than 300 events held over six weeks and is returning to Liverpool next summer for IFB 2016 , and will be held over three weeks.

Sir Terry, and former minister for Merseyside, Lord Heseltine, were the authors of a report about rebalancing the UK economy which led to the idea for IFB.

Addressing an audience of business leaders at the London Stock Exchange launch, Sir Terry said:

“I think IFB 2014 marked a sea-change for how Liverpool was perceived.

“Here was Liverpool, no longer the subject of industrial relations stories but actually right at the leading edge of the developing economies and industries around the world.

“The success of IFB in 2014 gave everyone encouragement.

“IFB 2016 is the perfect showcase for companies to show what they can do, to learn from others, to network, to do deals, to find investors, partners, collaborators and, of course, customers.

“I wish had had an IFB when I started Tesco’s expansion 20 years ago – it would have been a huge help to me.”

Sir Terry said that Government needed to do more to help grow the economy, adding:

“Government must balance the books – the state still spends too much. Regulation is growing too fast and is the main drag on productivity growth.

“We need more competition in every corner of the UK economy.”

He commented that too few British firms were exporting overseas, calling on business people to do more.

A report, Beyond the City, was unveiled at the event which showed that Liverpool would continue to be a jobs hotspot for the creative and digital sector over the next five years, forecasting the creation of 2,000 extra jobs.



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