This is the last column from me before Christmas and the New Year, so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you an enjoyable and well-deserved break over the festive season.

I say well deserved, as 2018 has turned out to be a pretty unsettling year on a number of fronts.

So, for this Christmas and perhaps more than any other, there are a number of items on my ‘wish list’ that I believe are vital if we are to make life easier for small business owners like me, as we move into the new year. Recognising that none of us gets everything we want (not even at Christmas!) I would list my top three priorities as follows:

First, I would like to see the volatile and uncertain economic conditions of recent times replaced with a clear vision and forward plan. One that gives us surety, the ability to take whatever steps are necessary to adjust and then to get on with our business and personal lives.

Second, I would like to see more done to arrest the increasing costs of doing business in the UK. The past few years have seen massive rises – many of which are direct consequences of changes to Government legislation.

Third, I would like to see targeted and efficient investment to repair our crumbling infrastructure. The effects of potholed roads and patchy internet connections are most acutely felt in areas with dispersed and rural communities and it’s high time these basic necessities of modern life were brought up to speed – quite literally!

On a positive note, Worcestershire continues to shine in terms of its economic performance and growth. There are also many exciting initiatives underway and planned, which should help to keep the momentum as we look to the future. As we welcome in 2019, let’s hope we also usher in a new era of progress and prosperity. One that benefits all of the county’s businesses, people and places.