Burning issue: July/August 2019

July 20, 2019

As Britain embarks on a new political era, what should the country’s new Prime Minister prioritise to support UK business and provide an environment for growth?

Jonathan Walker
Assistant director of policy, North East England Chamber of Commerce

First and foremost, we need clarity on Brexit and guarantees over our future trading relationship. Damage is being done every day by the lack of information available to businesses and the delays to investment that are resulting from it. There also needs to be substantial investment in our transport systems. The East Coast Mainline is a creaking structure that is at full capacity. Businesses rely on this vital artery to access staff, customers and markets. There needs to be funding for additional capacity to enable freight and passenger trains to use this route productively and to ensure the region reaps the full benefits of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Karen Read
Director, KLR Planning

I would like to see the new Prime Minister provide greater certainty for property developers and those using the town planning system to enable them to invest. To achieve this, the planning process needs to be de-risked as much as possible, this would provide an environment for growth, encourage investment in the built environment and create new jobs. At present, the planning system can, in some cases, be a barrier, upfront costs can be high and appeals too lengthy, with no guarantee that planning permission will be approved. Ultimately we need to see greater certainty and speedier turnarounds.

Dominic Lusardi
Owner and managing director, Animmersion

The Government needs to give greater support to the dawning of the digital age, particularly among SMEs where there is huge potential and creativity to solve industry challenges. Digital businesses can act in fusion with traditional process-driven sectors that can benefit from the application of technology, making them more competitive, efficient and productive, which will be even more vital in a post- Brexit economy. The creation of focused challenger funds for digital SMEs would speed up the development of new solutions and further strengthen the digital industry’s position as a new cornerstone of the British industry.

Chris Morgan
Managing director, Mobile Mini UK

The new Prime Minister should prioritise creating the stability we need to give companies the confidence to start investing again. Businesses need clarity as soon as possible on any future deal with the EU. Other matters that need looking at domestically are the introduction of lower and simpler business taxes, a review of business rates – which are no longer fit for purpose in an increasingly digital economy – and a reduction in red tape and unnecessary regulation. These all add costs for business and reduce the prospects for employment and investment.

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Monthly report: July/August 2019