Iain Duncan Smith addresses the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce annual economic conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon.

STRATFORD-ON-AVON has a key role to play in the on-going revival of the West Midlands.

That’s the message from the region’s first directly-elected mayor, Andy Street.

Mr Street was one of the guest speakers at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce annual economic conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon earlier today, Friday.

Representatives from businesses and organisations also heard from several other guest speakers including the Chamber’s chief executive, Louise Bennett, Conservative MPs Nadhim Zahawi, Jeremy Wright, Marcus Jones, and Iain Duncan Smith, Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, Janice Charette, Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK and David Ayton-Hill, the head of economy and skills at Warwickshire County Council.

On the agenda was economic confidence in the wake of Brexit negotiations, the timing of this week’s rise in interest rates – the first for ten years, the need to improve transport links around Warwickshire, the changing face of town centres, lack of affordable housing for young people looking to buy, and a staff shortage in the tourism sector.

See next week’s Herald for an interview with Mr Street about the district’s role in the West Midlands Combined Authority WMCA), the government funding that it has at its disposal, and potential solutions to the town’s chronic congestion problems.