East Midlands Chamber sets out its election priorities

By Bondegezou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Success for the new government will be judged on five key criteria, according to the biggest business-representation organisation in the Midlands.

Brexit and securing trade deals with the EU, Commonwealth and other countries and trading blocs will be just one of them.

But East Midlands Chamber says the new government, whatever its persuasion, must not allow momentum to be lost on domestic issues during negotiations to establish Britain’s independent global status.

And it has published its list of priorities against which it believes electoral candidates should be judged.

Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, said: “This election must not be about Brexit alone.

“We have a unique opportunity now to develop an ambitious vision for what a successful UK outside of the EU can look like and the key attributes of the economy that we want to underpin this.

“The next government must deliver a bold and clear blueprint for economic policy that allows the business community to continue to create success and prosperity locally, nationally and, through trade, around the world.

“Even the best Brexit deal will be of little use if businesses continue to face skills shortages, gridlocked roads, poor digital and mobile connectivity, high upfront taxes and costs and other constraints resulting from inaction or ignorance in Westminster and Whitehall.

“We need to boost productivity and business competitiveness by government supporting businesses from the ground up”.

The five key criteria listed in East Midlands Chamber’s manifesto are as follows:

To deliver a globally-competitive business environment by closing the skills gap without encumbering businesses with ever-higher upfront costs; To create local growth by unlocking the potential of business communities through devolution and maintaining the place-based focus of the Industrial Strategy; To guarantee investment in digital and physical infrastructure such as major road and rail projects and utilising capacity at regional airports; To support export initiatives and increase investment in trade missions to encourage more firms to export or expand overseas markets; and to work with businesses to secure the best possible Brexit deal and access to workers with the skills needed to ensure UK success.

Knowles added: “The big danger is that local, regional and national domestic issues could be put on the back-burner as government focuses on a whole new raft of relationships between an independent UK and countries around the world.

“And while those deals are crucial to Britain’s future success, so is making sure we have the infrastructure, backing for innovation and skills needed to compete on an international scale, and that means making sure that UK plc, through domestic investment, sends a message to the world that it will continue to be open for business post-Brexit”.