Latest Updates From Surrey Chambers CEO – 17th October 2022

21st October 2022

Great new President for the British Chambers of Commerce

We are delighted that entrepreneur and business leader Baroness Martha Lane-Fox CBE has been elected the new President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). As President, Baroness Lane-Fox will work alongside BCC Chair Sarah Howard MBE and Director General Shevaun Haviland to represent the interests of Chamber business communities and trade in a crucial period for the UK. Martha brings with her all the qualities that will make her an excellent President. She is creative, insightful, and has a wealth of knowledge that will be invaluable to our Chamber Network. She was one of the very first pioneers of the dotcom boom for businesses and has continued to pursue the internet and technology as a force for good throughout her inspiring and impactful career. Martha is very keen to visit chambers across the country so we will be making sure Surrey is an early location! She said “I am very excited to be joining the BCC family and look forward to meeting with Chambers and hearing from businesses across the UK. Having founded and run my own businesses, I know first-hand the challenges firms are up against right now. Chambers provide invaluable support to ensure businesses can expand, invest and trade, and I look forward to helping British businesses thrive.”


The new Chancellor’s announcements

In the world of politics so much has been happening. In his recent statement the Chancellor’s buzzword was stability. But what we’ve seen so far is a plan for today and nothing for tomorrow. Following the economic turmoil of the last few weeks he had to press the reset button. But businesses will be dismayed by the decision that looks set to strip back the energy support for firms from next April. This will be a hammer blow for many who were already worried about how they will survive. The government must commit to a full consultation with firms ahead of that cliff-edge to provide some certainty on where any targeted support will go. Energy costs keep business owners awake at night, alongside rising inflation and interest rates. In our weekly BCC meeting, we were reassured by a leading minister that the government wants to consult with the Chamber network to find the best way of supporting those most in need. Keeping support for the NICs reversal in place was some relief for hard-pressed firms, but on its own will not be enough. The Chancellor has a delicate balancing act to carry out. He must restore order to the markets if he is to prevent further damage to business and consumer confidence. But if he is serious about stability and growth, he must also speak to our Chamber Network to truly understand the pressures firms face. People run businesses and businesses rely on people. The Government is failing to fully understand that the cost of living and cost of doing business crises are two sides of the same coin.  We still need a clear vision on how they will support firms and the communities that rely on them to thrive. They must be clear on how they plan to do this, to prove they is serious about helping businesses through the difficult months ahead. Time is of the essence and we will keep the pressure on as we represent our businesses.

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