5 November 2015 09:15
"Fix the fundamentals", BCC tells Government
Ahead of the Chancellor's Spending Review and Autumn Statement in November, the British Chambers of Commerce have called on the Government to focus on boosting investment, exports, training and infrastructure.
John Longworth, BCC Director General, said:
"For decades, successive governments have created and disbanded a raft of business support programmes which have either tinkered around the edges or had no impact at all. The limited resources at the Chancellor's disposal should therefore target the structural issues that are holding us back - in training, infrastructure and finance."
While Longworth said that "businesses do support a leaner state overall", the BCC is now calling on the Government to focus on "reshaping the role of the state so that its overriding objective is as an enabler of growth and productivity".
"It is unacceptable that programmes that do little to boost UK output are being protected at the expense of capital investment, the maintenance of key infrastructure assets, investment in skills and business access to finance. Fixing our productivity problem requires significant investment in people and infrastructure. Anything less and we will struggle to put our economy on a strong footing."
The BCC has called for three structural issues to be at the heart of George Osborne's upcoming Spending Review:
- fixing a "dysfunctional" business finance system;
- delivering business infrastructure "fit for the modern age", including investments in road and rail schemes, long term energy security and upgrading the UK's digital infrastructure;
- closing "worrisome" skills gaps, to help young people succeed in tomorrow's workforce and enable businesses to compete on the global stage.
The BCC is also warning that any regional devolution - which it welcomes - must be "done for sound business reasons, and not just for political gain".
"Businesses up and down the country broadly support the devolution of powers to local areas in England. If done properly, it can drive greater efficiency, accountability and better results. All devolution proposals should have a test, measuring their impact on businesses, before they are taken into legislation. There should be no business taxation without representation."