14/03/13

  • BCC Director General John Longworth will address the business group’s Annual Conference at Central Hall, Westminster at 10.00am
  • Foreign Secretary, William Hague, confirmed as keynote speaker
  • Prime Minister David Cameron to deliver video address
  • Ed Miliband, Vince Cable and Lord Heseltine to follow as guest speakers

Today (Thursday), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will hold its Annual Conference at Central Hall in Westminster. Addressing businesses and Chambers of Commerce from across the globe, BCC Director General, John Longworth will urge the government to make bold decisions, and divert resources away from unproductive spending towards growth measures that will benefit the nation as a whole. This will be followed by a keynote address from Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and a recorded message from the Prime Minister.

In the week before the Chancellor delivers his Budget speech, John Longworth will urge the government to stimulate growth through infrastructure development, and improve businesses’ ability to access the finance they need to grow and create wealth.

In his conference speech today (Thursday) John Longworth will say:

“It is a year since I gave my first speech to this event as the newly appointed Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce. Then we were facing major, national challenges: a prolonged period of austerity, unparalleled since the great depression of the 1930's; a Eurozone crisis with no certain outcome; and a US budget deficit which threatened to derail global economic recovery. 

“As I speak today, the Chancellor has declared an even longer period of austerity, longer than the Great Depression; the Eurozone crisis has deepened and is without a certain outcome; and there is a US budget deficit which has gone over the fiscal cliff – twice.

“So we have to ask ourselves in the UK: do we have the creativity, the talent, the enterprise and the capacity for sheer hard work to build and drive the UK economy? And I say – you are darn right we do.

“How do I know this? Because I visit hundreds of Chamber businesses every year and it strikes me that they can do anything they set their minds to, and can trade the world with the best.

“Confidence is the key, confidence and an enterprise-friendly environment.

“We, in the Chamber Network, believe that these can be created by stimulating growth through a massive infrastructure development programme and by addressing a long term structural fault in UK business finance, which has been brought into sharp focus by the credit crunch.

“That doesn't mean deviating from deficit reduction – at least not yet.

“It does mean bold decision making and a determination to actually deliver – on a large scale, and soon. Scale, delivery and urgency are the key.

“It does mean diverting resources from unproductive spending to stimulate growth for the benefit of us all, to safeguard the future of our children and grandchildren, and to be able to continue to afford the NHS, pensions and welfare in the years to come.

“So, a drive for growth, in parallel to deficit reduction, is vital to the future of our country. It would be vital even in the good times. Massive infrastructure coupled with access to finance will stimulate confidence and investment.

“It is, in effect, a New Model Economy.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

John Longworth’s full speech will be released under embargo at 09.00, Thursday 14th March.

The BCC’s Annual Conference, entitled Building a New Model Economy, is taking place on 14th March 2013. For more information or to register for a free press pass, please visit http://www.bccconference.co.uk/index.php  or contact the press office.

Media contacts:

Lisa Morrison – Press and Communications Manager

020 7654 5812 / 07717682221

Allan Williams – Press and Communications Officer

020 7654 5813 / 07825746812

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk