Now more than ever, it’s critical that Chambers of Commerce act as the linchpin for the business community at a local level to ensure their views, specifically our members, are heard and represented throughout the corridors of power in Westminster and Whitehall.
Consequently, Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with its sister Chamber, Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce are establishing a Business Council which will act as the sounding board for members to voice concerns and air their opinions on a wide range of issues, from skills and infrastructure to business taxation and international trade.
This will then culminate with a launch of a Business Manifesto which will act the as your Chamber’s flagship policy and lobbying document when engaging with Local Authorities and MPs, not to mention assisting our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce who tirelessly lobby central Government on behalf of local Chambers’ from across the UK.
We strongly urge members to engage with us though this Business Council. The first Business Council will take place on Monday, 14th November. Representing the British Chambers of Commerce at our inaugural Business Council will be Dr Adam Marshall, acting Director General.
As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) on the 23rd June there have been a host of political ramifications including; the Labour Party’s Leadership election, and most notably David Cameron’s decision to stand down. The latter of which resulted in a leadership bid – albeit a truncated one – that brought about the appointment of the Rt Hon. Theresa May as the new Prime Minister on Wednesday, 13th July.
The Prime Minister then set about one of the swiftest re-organisations of Government, leading to a dramatic overhaul of the machinery of Government across Whitehall, the likes of which had not been seen in recent times.
It was clearly evident in the Prime Minister’s first speech outside Number 10 Downing Street that a new era of Government, and a new way of doing things was about to take hold. Further evidence was provided when Mrs May abandoned the then Chancellor George Osborne’s goal of returning to a budget surplus by the end of the 2020 – the current Parliamentary session.
Nothing demonstrates the intentions and likely direction of Government more than who is appointed to each of the 25 ministerial positions.
The most high profile appointments were Philip Hammond as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is now looking to capitalise on the record low borrowing costs to invest in Britain’s ailing infrastructure. Secondly, was the appointment of Liam Fox to the newly established Department for International Trade, given the mammoth task of getting Britain to build independent trading relations unconstrained by the EU. Thirdly, and perhaps most significant was the appointment of Greg Clarke to the role of Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – merging the Department for Energy with Business, Innovation and Skills. Given that the phrase ‘industrial strategy’ was banished from the Whitehall lexicon, it’s noteworthy to see its reintroduction into the realm of political discourse once again.
Regionally, the Midlands Engine continues to gather momentum, and in concert with Midlands Connect will help ensure the region is suitably connected, helping businesses as they continue to develop, expand into new markets and generate jobs. However, important challenges remain, for example skills shortages, connectivity – be it broadband and digital, rail and road, as well as housing supply and access to growth markets both domestically and internationally.
In the first full Parliamentary session of the new Government under the leadership of Theresa May, and with great uncertainty hanging over the business community as a result of Brexit, operating in a near zero interest rate environment, delayed decisions on major infrastructure projects, and ultimately what direction the new Government takes.
This is why we are calling on businesses to engage with the Chamber through this newly established Business Council.
For further details about this Business Council please contact the Chamber’s Policy Executive Simon Dishman on 01604 490 490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org