Election campaign now has a real edge and the voice of business must be heard

Posted by Jenny Stewart

Chief Executive of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 02nd, Jun

This week, after a brief albeit poignant pause, campaigning for the General Election has resumed – and boy has it gathered some pace.

When Prime Minister Theresa May called the election in April, many commentators forecast it would be one of the dullest ever.

The Conservatives were a country mile ahead in the polls and the consensus was it would be more of a procession than a race.

How wrong they were.

Labour’s campaign has gathered momentum and Jeremy Corbyn has been a more accomplished performer on the stump than many had given him credit for.

In contrast, Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ message has gone a bit pear-shaped following her dramatic u-turn on the social care cap.

With less than a week to go, the polls have narrowed significantly and we may have a genuine contest on our hands.

On the agenda

Those of us in the business world must ensure that our voice is heard louder than ever in these final few days.

Entrepreneurs and businesses, large and small, are the engine of the economy. The wealth we create will pay for the policy pledges you have been hearing.

After the Government’s u-turn on a proposed rise in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed earlier this year, I called for a wider debate on how we value entrepreneurship.

This chimes with the manifesto put forward by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) which is calling for a commitment to no extra taxes for business, a reform of the broken business rates system, a greater focus on work-focused education and training, and a recognition that a migration policy must reflect the requirements of the labour market.

Challenging period

Suren Thiru, head of economics & business finance at the BCC, said: “Tackling these longstanding issues has become even more pressing with the UK economy set to enter a more challenging period.

“Yet you wouldn’t really know this from reading the various party manifestos that have been published with political posturing largely put ahead of the need to create the best possible conditions for long-term economic growth.”

Take part in our survey

And with uncertainty set to continue even after our new government are announced, it is perhaps more important than ever to make your voice heard.

You can help contribute by completing the BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey – which will enable the BCC to lobby on your behalf to ensure the next Government create an environment that allows businesses to grow and prosper.

The last survey saw more than 7,300 responses from companies across the UK.

We will unveil both the regional and national results from the latest survey at our QES breakfast briefing on Friday 21 July at One Mann Island on Liverpool’s waterfront.

John Young, the Bank of England agent for the North West, will join other local business leaders on our discussion panel.

Responses to the survey are welcome until Monday 12 June and should take no more than five minutes to complete. Click here to take part.

We thank you for your input and your help in providing this vital snapshot of our economy.

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