The new president of Cannock Chase Chamber of Commerce has issued a rallying call to its members to join together to reduce unemployment and avoid the worst effects of the recession.

Fred Pritchard, chairman and chief executive of Pritchard Group plc – whose company motto is Onward and Upward – believes the solution to rising unemployment is to promote entrepreneurialism and help the ambitious start up on their own.

The larger-than-life property developer said it was essential to encourage more business start-ups and get those with the skills and ability to set up in business and become an SME.

“If finance is required, then the government is putting considerable pressure on banks to lend money to small businesses, with some banks being more progressive than others with their arrangements. So the message is with the British fighting spirit: do not accept unemployment, do something about it, even combining with colleagues that are in the same boat and form your own business as an alternative to unemployment if jobs cannot be found elsewhere.”

Mr Pritchard, who has been developing both commercial and residential schemes across the region for a generation, launched his business at the height of the mining depression when Cannock Chase had an unemployment level of 22 per cent.

He believes that organisations such as the chamber and Business Link have a key part to play in supporting start-ups with advice and facilities to get the business up and running.

He said: “What applies to small and large businesses alike is TLC – not particularly tender loving care, but Terms at what you can borrow the money, Liquidity in the markets so that banks can lend it and most important, Confidence. Let us all have confidence in our country and in our district of Cannock Chase and Staffordshire, and let us go forward, like the resilience of the miners getting back into work when the mines closed some years ago – they got out, retrained and created many worthwhile businesses that have prospered.

“Utilising our company motto of Upward and Onward, we can give hope and aspiration for the future, particularly for the community of Cannock Chase and Staffordshire. As president of the Cannock Chase Chamber of Commerce now, I promise no stone will be left unturned in seeking new ways to regain employment and the entrepreneurial spirit of setting up your own business.”