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Latest Updates From Surrey Chambers CEO – 2nd November 2022

3rd November 2022

Following weeks of chaos and uncertainty, we now congratulate Rishi Sunak as our new Prime Minister, who needs to return us to both political and economic stability. The new administration must immediately set out how they plan to deal with soaring energy bills, labour shortages, spiralling inflation and interest rates. Flip-flopping on policies has led to low consumer and business confidence, with four in 10 firms expecting falling profits, as companies have seen little sign of a coherent strategy nor stability in Government decision making. The challenges that lay ahead of us are building by the day. Findings from our national survey say two thirds of firms expect to raise their prices and inflation is the top concern. Interest rates are set to climb further in November and energy bills will now rocket again for many in April. This is unsustainable. Government must work with business to address three main issues, to show it recognises the challenges firms face.  Our plea to them is very clear:

  • Firstly, they must look again at the energy support package for businesses and communicate quickly how the system will work beyond April.
  • Secondly, they must fix the labour market. Without the skilled people to do the jobs businesses need, the economy cannot thrive.
  • Thirdly, to grow the economy they must set out a strategy to boost our exports.

People run businesses and businesses rely on people. The new administration must grasp that the cost of living and cost of doing business crises are two sides of the same coin. We still need a clear long-term vision on how they will support firms, and the communities that rely on them, to thrive.

Success in our “voice” of business role

Surrey Chambers is constantly representing the business voice in all sorts of settings, and it is always good to report some success. One which has been very successful is our feedback on the difficulties businesses have in recruiting or training sales and business development staff. Our feedback, along with input from local training providers has resulted in action and the Department for Education (D for E) (via the Strategic Development fund) is funding a small number of places on an excellent 8-hour course. These eight-hour courses – delivered over one day, or two evenings – set out the knowledge and skills that are needed to increase sales and improve long-term business performance. After finishing the course, delegates will leave with a completed workbook containing a sales action plan. Skills learnt on the course can be put into practice straight away. The courses are being delivered at 5 different locations and dates to provide as much choice and convenience for businesses as possible. Surrey Chambers is promoting these courses alongside our International Trade courses also sponsored by the D for E.  The first one of these is running this week for 15 local businesses with further sessions planned for 2023.