The Cumbria Transport Group held a meeting at the A.W. Jenkinson Truck Stop in Penrith on Friday to discuss issues facing the industry, at which the keynote speech was given by Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border.

The meeting, which principally focused on truck stops and their importance as spaces for rest and rejuvenation for drivers, brought together representatives from businesses and institutions across Cumbria, including SP Training, Jelf, Fleet Legal, Butterworths Law and Carlisle College. Attendees enjoyed a varied programme of talks before Mr Stewart addressed the meeting.

His speech focused on the Cumbrian economy and the challenges and opportunities that it currently faces. Mr Stewart began by giving a brief survey of the economy, and discussed the immense variety of businesses across Cumbria and the importance of tourism. He outlined the benefits that ultrafast broadband can bring, detailing his efforts and the improvements that he has pushed since his election in 2010, while also offering his observations on the importance of the transport and logistics industries to the local and national economy. Following his speech, questions were taken from attendees, which focused upon the challenges faced by the industries and the state of local roads, particularly the A66. The difficulty of attracting young people, and consequent employment shortages, was raised repeatedly, while the threat posed by internet businesses to local high streets was also discussed.

Speaking after the event Mr Stewart said: “It was a very great privilege to address the Cumbria Transport Group and I am extremely grateful to them for inviting me to do so. It was invaluable to hear insights from so many local entrepreneurs, pioneers and businesspeople and I will ensure that their suggestions are heard at Westminster. Transport and logistics are vital to our economy and I would like to thank them again, for all that they do”.

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