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Fix the fundamentals

While Brexit is understandably a huge undertaking, many of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the UK economy have little or nothing to do with the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The best Brexit deal imaginable won’t be worth the paper it’s written on if the fundamentals for growth aren’t right here at home. Competitiveness, productivity, skills, and connectivity – all long-standing challenges for the UK – must be improved to enable businesses to drive our success through Brexit and beyond.

The Industrial Strategy White Paper, published by government in late 2017, is a first milestone in a renewed partnership between business and government to deliver growth. But strategy documents mean little without sustained efforts to deliver real-world outcomes that matter.

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Costs

Costs

The cost of doing business in the UK continues to rise, particularly the burden of upfront costs, which firms face before they turn over a single pound, and regardless of the company’s performance or economic conditions.

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People

People

The never-ending changes to training and apprenticeships have undermined business confidence and investment, and the systems need to be stabilised. Fix the apprenticeship levy and funding system that has seen number of apprenticeships starts plummet rather than increase, at precisely the time when labour shortages are at critical levels.

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Physical Infrastructure

Physical Infrastructure

Increase public and private investment to deliver the connectivity that firms need. Repairing local roads, new and improved railway infrastructure, capacity improvements at our airports and new runways will help businesses to reach markets, suppliers and labour markets.

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Digital Infrastructure

Digital Infrastructure

A real plan is required to rid the UK of mobile phone ‘not spots’, particularly along our road and rail corridors, which stop firms transacting business, as well as the poor broadband connections facing too many firms.

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Energy

Energy

Revitalise the energy grid that supplies power to our homes and businesses and exploit the potential for supplying energy from the resources in the UK rather than from abroad.

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BCC comments on labour and productivity figures

Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) comments on the labour market figures for February 2019, published today by the ONS.

BCC, Business West & Thames Valley Chamber comment on Honda announcement

Paul Britton, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group, Phil Smith, Chief Executive of Business West and Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, jointly comment on the Honda announcement relating to the plant in Swindon.

BCC/DHL: Volatility and price pressures weighing on UK exporters

The percentage of both manufacturing and services exporters who are expecting to increase their prices has risen in the past three months, as international traders struggle with the value of the pound and pressure from the cost of raw materials and other overheads, according to the latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL.

BCC: Businesses ‘hung out to dry’ without answers in event of unwanted ‘no deal’

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has today published a list of twenty critical questions that remain unanswered for business in the unwelcome event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on March 29.