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BCC:Tories, be ambitious for UK

As the Conservative Party Conference gets underway in Manchester, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is today (Monday) issuing a clear message to the Prime Minister and his colleagues to ‘get moving’ on the delivery of pro-growth policies that will benefit the nation as a whole.

BCC Director General, John Longworth, is urging Conservative ministers to ‘show more ambition’ for Britain’s growth prospects – to help transform our economic performance from being merely good to truly great.

The BCC identified seven areas where the Prime Minister and Chancellor need to follow through on their pro-growth promises:

·         Delivering business-critical infrastructure – roads, rail improvements, HS2, airport capacity, digital infrastructure and long term energy security, far more swiftly to underpin business investment

·         Committing to a step-change in support for exports and global trade, by prioritising real help for exporters in all future spending and tax plans

·         Fixing Britain’s broken business finance system, with the Business Bank scaled up to make a real difference, working directly with high-growth SMEs

·         Recognising the importance of research, education and skills in a knowledge based economy, to ensure employment opportunities and the development of our future skills base

·         Securing our energy supplies for the future – with go-aheads for new nuclear and fracking, alongside renewables

·         Reforming or re-negotiating Britain’s place in the European Union, minimising lengthy delays that generate uncertainty for businesses

·         Delivering a tax and regulatory system that promotes enterprise. The government has made great strides on reducing red tape and lowering Corporation Tax. But it must act, swiftly, to address the iniquitous business rates regime that is stifling the growth and confidence of companies across the UK, and go still further to incentivise investment and entrepreneurship.

Commenting, BCC Director General, John Longworth, said:

“Britain’s economy is improving, but we are not out of the woods just yet. We still face some deep-seated structural problems that require a laser-like focus from the political class, who need to show more ambition for Britain’s growth prospects.

“David Cameron and George Osborne have made a number of pro-growth commitments that have struck a chord with business. Yet we should be impatient at this critical moment in our history and the economic cycle. The government needs to get moving on its promises, rather than just talking the talk. If ministers allow short-term politics and Whitehall obstruction to frustrate the delivery of their growth commitments, our recovery – and our economic future – will be poorer for it, and could be permanently damaged.

“The government’s full attention must be focused on jump-starting business investment and our export potential. So delivering on infrastructure, business finance, training and trade is crucial.

“What I would like to hear in Manchester this week is that the Prime Minister and his team will do everything in their power to deliver improved conditions for business growth. In return for delivering an environment that supports enterprise, businesses will respond with innovation, job creation, and wealth generation.

“So my message to government is this: for goodness sake, get on and do what is in the long-term national interest. This won’t always be straightforward, but it should be at the forefront of government thinking at all times. Only a relentless focus on supporting economic growth will guarantee a secure future for generations to come.”

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