Director General of British Chambers of Commerce tells Suffolk business that infrastructure key to future success of economy
03 Jul 2012
The Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce, John Longworth has met with members of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and has urged the importance of the Suffolk economy to the rest of the UK.
John, who was appointed at the end of 2011, is a scientist by trade whose career includes time as an Executive Director for ASDA. He spoke to Suffolk Chamber members at the AGM at Fynn Valley Golf Club just outsideIpswich, before holding a round table with business leaders. In the evening, some of the county’s biggest and most influential companies had dinner with him at Portman Road.
“It is clear that confidence is strong among businesses here in Suffolk,” John Longworth told over 100 Chamber members at the AGM at which Chamber President Dr Peter Funnell was re-elected to serve a further term. “That confidence has to be nurtured by the Government and as business leads the way out of recession it has to be given the space and opportunity to thrive.”
The Director General went on to add that the challenges the Suffolk economy is facing are reflective of the rest of the UK.
“There is no doubt that real and lasting investment in infrastructure is the key to future success,” he said. “Road, rail, aviation and digital are all pillars of a thriving economy and cannot be ignored any longer.”
The issues of infrastructure in Suffolk include the A14 (road), the upgrade of the Great East Main Line (rail) and the backing of Better Broadband for Suffolk (digital), which were all issues Chamber members quizzed the Director General on at a round table straight after the AGM.
“I’m meeting with government on a regular basis and am continuing to ensure they hear the voice of business on these key issues. We will not let them off the hook,” he said.
Leading big businesses such as Port of Felixstowe, EDF, BAA Stansted, Newmarket Racecourse, BT, Aspalls, Adnams and Musks sat down for dinner at Ipswich Town Football Club with John Longworth and re-enforced the need for investment and government friendly policies required to make life easier for hard working industries.
The group agreed that private investment would make the difference in years to come and that even when the UK economy recovers, the Treasury must use it as an opportunity to reduce tax, not increase spending.
“There remains a great challenge that banks are struggling to lend to business,” John Longworth said. “That is why we are lobbying hard for a Business Bank to be established.”
“Other leading nations around the world have done this in the past with great success. In the USA, global leaders such as Microsoft and Apple would not be who they are without the investment of a Business Bank.”
“Gone are the days when Westminster and big Government leads on big business projects. Whitehall needs to give us imagination and then business will step up with the much needed private investment.”
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