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There’s a mood of optimism in the Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce despite the dreadful effects of the foot and mouth epidemic which have had such an impact on the countryside.

President Jim King told the May meeting that he hoped for a hundred members by the end of the year.

“We’re already approaching a membership of seventy, which is a substantial number, but we know there are very many more companies in the Valley who could benefit by joining us,” said Mr King.

The membership drive will get a boost by the introduction of a new logo, chosen from designs produced by Chamber members, and the launch of its own website - - which is currently being developed.

The latest meeting heard from John Beverly, the Bank of England’s representative in the South West. It’s his job to report back to Headquarters with information and opinions from businesses in the region to assist the people who make the all important decision about the level of interest rates.

He explained how valuable it was to hear from small businesses as the Bank of England attempted to keep the economy stable, with an inflation rate of between 1.5 and 3.5 per cent.

Mr Beverly said he understood that people in countryside areas were horrified at the effects of foot and mouth but he explained that international factors, such as the performance of the economies of America and Japan, would have a bigger effect in the long term on prospects for Britain.

The Chamber’s next meeting will be held at the Queens Arms in Chew Magna at 6.30pm on Tuesday September 4th 2001.

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