A NEW chairman and vice-president were appointed at the annual meeting of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, held in Bradford today.

Gerald Jennings has succeeded Stephen Wright as the business support group's chairman, while Andy Caton has taken up the role of vice-president.

Mr Jennings, who works with businesses and organisations including Henry Boot, The Tetley and Leeds City College, said he will "try to make a difference" in his role.

He said: “Whatever roles I take on, I try to make a real difference; and that applies in this instance, just like any other.

"We are changing the dynamics and therefore the perceptions of Chamber of Commerce, for example with younger people and more women involved in senior positions, and so are reaching out more.

"While this is more of a governance role than that of a Chamber president, I will still be heading up a team of vastly experienced people to help ensure our region’s businesses get the best possible support. I’m looking forward to the tasks ahead.”

Mike Cartwright, policy executive at the Chamber, added: “Today’s meeting demonstrated that we have some of the region’s finest business people involved in steering the Chamber ship.

"They give their time voluntarily to help make our region a better place in which to do business, and we are very grateful for that.

"The meeting also highlighted that our organisation is financially robust, had a successful 2016-17 – demonstrated through our published annual report – and is looking forward to tackling the challenges that go with growing our economy and delivering on behalf of our businesses.”

At the lunch, held at the Midland Hotel, David Cutter, chief executive of Skipton Building Society, spoke about the housing market, interest rates, and the impact of the financial crisis, fielding questions on the issue and giving his opinion on the upcoming Autumn Budget.