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Chamber calls on the county’s parliamentary candidates to address the fundamentals

Posted: 09/05/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Chamber member businesses urge prospective parliamentary candidates to address the fundamentals of doing business during the course of the election campaign.

Last month’s announcement by the Prime Minster Theresa May, is yet another unwelcome distraction for businesses at a time of heightened uncertainty following the UK’s decision to leave the EU back in June 2016, according to members of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “Whilst this General Election will inevitably be centred around Brexit and competing visions as to what shape negotiations should take and the UK’s place in the world post-Brexit. We would strongly urge the next Government to focus on the fundamentals, which immediately impact local firms and their ability to do business.

“Perennial issues such as connectivity, skills shortages, recruitment difficulties, the up-front costs of doing business, and support for exporters are first and foremost on the minds of business leaders across the county. All of which currently have a greater impact on their ability grow and generate jobs, vital for the continued success of Northamptonshire.

“Northamptonshire has a vast-array of key assets including its excellent links to UK and world markets, a wealth of globally recognised brands, and below national average unemployment. However, the continued growth of the county is hindered by numerous threats comprising inadequate broadband and digital connectivity that also includes 4G and 5G, a shortage of school leavers with qualifications in STEM (science, technical, engineering and maths) subjects – not to mention the substantial shortfall of HGV drivers which will significantly hinder growth in a sector that is responsible for around 1 in 10 jobs.

“Furthermore, the continued increase in up-front costs for businesses including the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, the national living wage, business rates and insurance premiums needs to be curtailed. In order for businesses to remain competitive, the burden of doing business needs to be minimised.”

Finally, the Chamber has called on prospective parliamentary candidates to deliver on proposals that are already in the pipeline, such as the Industrial Strategy, and to heed the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission’s findings on the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Growth Corridor. In addition to continuing to work alongside the Midlands Engine, as it seeks to build a powerhouse of economic growth across the region – benefiting local firms across Northamptonshire.

Addressing these local fundamentals will, in the Chamber’s opinion, enable firms to be better placed as they continue to grow and develop, as well as competing with their counterparts throughout the UK, and internationally.

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