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‘When business succeeds, the country succeeds’: Chambers deliver a 5-point action plan to the parties ahead of general election

CHAMBERS of Commerce in Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire have joined with their counterparts around the UK to back a five-point Action Plan to address the barriers firms face ahead of the general election.

The plan is the result of extensive consultation with the businesses within the Chamber network, the British Chambers of Commerce’s Business Council, external stakeholders and academics to create a manifesto for the government to implement.

It has been put forward to the political parties by the BCC ahead of polling day on July 4.

The BCC wants to see:

   An Industrial Strategy with green innovation at its heart.

•    Better skills planning, bringing businesses and training providers together.

•    Business rates reform to encourage growth and investment.

•    Improved relations with the European Union to cut the costs for business.

•    A government-appointed AI champion for SMEs to spearhead uptake of new technology.

Louise Wall (pictured above), chief executive of Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce said: “The Chamber Network has set out a clear five-point vision for the future of British business. Local firms are ready to embrace green innovation but they need support and a clear roadmap from the government.

Baroness Martha Lane-Fox, president of the British Chambers of Commerce.

“Reforming business rates and enhancing skills planning are crucial steps towards creating a thriving economic environment.”

Better relations with the European Union and a dedicated AI champion for SMEs will help businesses to grow, compete, and innovate on the world stage, she added. “The Chamber will continue to champion the Voice of Business and ensure that those who are vying to be elected on July 4 hear what firms want to see changed to support economic growth”

BCC president Baroness Martha Lane Fox called on politicians of all parties to focus on the power of British business.

“As I travel across the UK meeting Chambers and their businesses, I hear amazing stories of people determined to grow their businesses and make a difference in our remarkable country. But time and again businesses tell me they want to see a long-term vision for the economy,” she said.

The BCC manifesto showcases practical ideas on how politicians can help companies successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities facing the UK economy.

“It is a blueprint for boosting productivity and a pathway to higher growth,” said Baroness Lane Fox. “Whichever party is in power after July 4, the immediate focus must be on implementing our five-point-plan for business. The stakes for business from the next government could not be higher.”

Shevain Haviland, BCC director general.

Green innovation must be at the heart of the new government’s industrial strategy and ministers must prioritise strategic planning to help businesses and training providers to improve skills, the BCC said.

It also demands a fairer system for business rates, which currently is holding back growth plans of more than one in four UK companies.

“The EU is the UK’s biggest market so we urgently need to get a better trading relationship with our closest neighbour,” said BCC director general Shevaun Haviland. “It is not about rewriting the referendum result; it is about cutting red tape and promoting trade.

“The world of AI has huge potential to boost economic productivity. But it is important that SMEs are not left behind or vulnerable as new technology accelerates. A government-appointed AI champion will help spearhead a boost in AI uptake by SMEs.

“We believe our five-point plan creates an immediate pathway for a new government, of whatever party, to help businesses succeed. When business succeeds, the country succeeds.”

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