A NEW group set up to give the business community in the Musselburgh area a collective voice will be officially launched on Tuesday.

Local business people are invited to attend the event at Stuart House, Eskmills, to welcome the formation of the new Musselburgh Business Partnership (MBP).

From 6pm to 8pm, they will get the chance to network and join the organisation.

There will be speeches from guests such as Keith Barbour, joint chief executive of the Midlothian & East Lothian Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Newlin, advisor at Business Gateway East Lothian.

With more than 400 known businesses in the Musselburgh area, it was identified that there was no collective voice to lobby local, regional and national agencies that influence trading.

MBP, formed as a not-for-profit company following a community interest co-operative mode, aims to provide local businesses with a voice and raise issues that matter most to members.

These could range from business rates, planning, transportation, parking, access to funding, to skilled workers, the availability and suitability of commercial property, and finding vendors, and suppliers.

Malcolm Currie, inaugural convenor, said: “Membership will be open to any business trading in Musselburgh, any size, any sector, and I hope we get the full range. The partnership has been formed to be a voice for business in the council’s area partnership and to create a more helpful environment for businesses to grow and thrive.”

Mr Newlin added: “The Musselburgh Business Partnership is an opportunity to bring a collective of businesses together for the common good. We all face similar challenges and have a huge amount of skill and experience to share – if we can learn together, and have an impartial sounding board to go to, then we can all grow our businesses in today’s competitive and busy world.”

The Musselburgh Area Partnership, which is made up of representatives from the community who allocate council funding to local projects, initially helped get the business partnership off the ground.

Stuart Baxter, area partnership manager, said: “It is great to see the launch of the Musselburgh Business Partnership to provide a collective voice for businesses in the area and I look forward to working with them to help improve both the business environment and Musselburgh as a business destination. It is also hoped that the business partnership will be an active member of the Musselburgh Area Partnership, to help understand the views of businesses in the area and to provide outcomes for the whole community.”

Councillor Stuart Currie said: “The launch of the business partnership is a very welcome step forward for the town.

“It is a great opportunity for the voice of employers to be heard loud and clear on the many issues that matter to businesses that employ people in Musselburgh.

“The High Street, for example, needs to be upgraded and updated to ensure that it remains a place where folk want to shop. I look forward to working with business in the months and years ahead.”

Councillor Katie Mackie added: “I very much welcome the launch of the Business Partnership in Musselburgh. I believe this will provide local businesses with a collective voice, providing networking opportunities and improving the recognition of the importance of local business to Musselburgh’s economy.”

Councillor John Williamson said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the town’s local businesses to work together to promote Musselburgh as a good place for businesses to thrive and grow, and to be an attractive place for customers of all sorts to come to. Also having a collective voice to raise any issues of concern which might affect businesses in the area can only be a good thing particularly with all the new development plannedin the local area.”

Tickets and more information are available on Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/musselburgh-business-partnership-launch-event-tickets-45440575986?aff=es2