Three of Staffordshire's leading business organisations will complete their planned merger on October 1.

The unification of the North and Southern Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, combined with the county's Business Link, creates one of the largest business support organisations in the country.

The merger, agreed by all three parties, will, it is hoped, heighten Staffordshire's position when lobbying for Government funding.

The new Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce will be the tenth largest in the country.

Mike Heenan, chairman of the new chamber, said: "This is an important agreement for Staffordshire and one which considerably raises the county's business profile and ensures that Staffordshire is a major player on the national business stage.

"The new body will be larger, stronger and better resourced. Business Link will be brokering contracts across the West Midlands to deliver first class business services to all of Staffordshire's companies and the chamber will be in a better position to provide effective representation to its members at all levels. The county's interests will be promoted more effectively at all levels of Government and this will prove vital in attracting investment into the area."

Jennifer Carley, the current chief executive of Business Link, has been appointed acting chief executive of the new body for the interim but the organisation will shortly be advertising for a new permanent CEO who is expected to be in post by the New Year.

Brian Carnes, previously chief executive of the North Staffordshire Chamber, becomes director of membership services for the new body, with special responsibility for the 2,300 companies involved.

The new Chamber will comprise five divisions - The Chase, representing Cannock and the surrounding area, Lichfield and Tamworth, Burton and District, Stafford and North Staffordshire.

The merger sees the dissolution of both Southern Staffordshire and North Staffs Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Sue Arnold, who relinquishes her position of president of SSCCI but remains as a director of the new company, said she was delighted that everything had been agreed.

"This is an exciting occasion for Staffordshire. For the first time ever the business interests of the whole county will be represented by a single body. This substantially strengthens the chamber brand and will enhance the services we are able to deliver to our members," she said.

Ms Carley said the position of all chamber members would be enhanced by the new organisation and members should not feel their interests would be neglected.

One of the main tasks of the new body will be to set about reversing the county's fortunes, because, despite Staffordshire's size, it consistently fails to punch its weight on the economic stage.

She said: "Viewed as a whole, Staffordshire has the largest number of enterprises within the West Midlands and has the second highest potential workforce but despite its size, the county has a comparatively weak economic performance and suffers from associated problems such as a low gross domestic product and relatively low wages.

"The new organisation will allow us to focus on the wider agenda and target issues such as regeneration, the growing skills shortage and the region's poor image. The next six months will be challenging, but also tremendously exciting as we begin to build the foundations for what I am sure will be a strong, successful Chamber of Commerce delivering first class services."