Latest Updates From Surrey Chambers CEO – 30th September 2022
30th September 2022
A few lights in our challenging business environment
Following some early heads up there was some good news from the government on support for businesses, who have been receiving eye watering energy bills. The support package on offer is significant and will ease the cost pressures that have been piling up on businesses. It will allow many firms that were considering closure, or having to lay off staff or reduce output, to keep going through the winter. However, the exact level of support will vary greatly from business to business depending on the detail of their contract. This saving now needs to be passed on as soon as possible. Although this is good news for those that will benefit, six months support is not enough to make plans for the future, and it is the confidence of businesses to plan that needs to be instilled to grow our economy. After months of campaigning, the Government’s announcement to reverse the increase to the National Insurance Contribution (NIC) was a big win for the British Chambers of Commerce, the network of Chambers and the business community. This is much needed support for businesses during these difficult times. To truly revitalise our economy for the difficult months ahead we were hoping for a clear long-term plan that gives businesses the confidence to grow. This in turn would have a positive impact on their staff, who are also facing cost increases in every area, not helped by the latest interest rate hike to 2.25%.
It was good to hear the Chancellor’s pledge to focus on economic growth and speed up new infrastructure development, but this will need to be preceded by changes to our creaking planning system, which is too slow, complex and uncertain. It stifles business investment, expansion and growth. We hope to see the Chancellor develop a comprehensive long-term economic strategy, leading to a return to the vibrant economy we are used to.
Keeping businesses up to date
Whilst we continue to lobby government to support businesses being severely affected by all the recent challenges, we are also delivering events and activities to improve knowledge and encourage positive actions.
Surrey Chambers of Commerce and Love Oxted supported by Tandridge District Council, are running a NetZero event for local businesses, aiming to cut through all the information available on NetZero to help them make real progress on their own NetZero journey. Matt Letley from Impact for Good is leading an informative, hands-on session for all attendees to understand what they need to do to become a more sustainable business.
We are also offering 4 different International Trade training courses to help improve the productivity of companies working overseas. These courses are sponsored by the Department of Education via their Strategic Development Fund and are already proving popular.
There will be more focus on skills over the next few months as we reach out to Employers to hear from them on skills shortages. We have been designated by the Secretary of State for Education to work with the business and education community to create a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) to ensure skills provision meets business demands. It will be an exciting opportunity to give businesses the chance to influence the skills agenda. Please help us to gather the best possible intel by talking to us about your skills needs. We will be in touch in various ways!