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December Business & Policy Briefing

Orwell Bridge closures

Suffolk Chamber has raised concerns regarding the recent closures of the Orwell Bridge and the significant economic losses inflicted upon the county. The closure not only adversely affected local businesses but also tarnished the county's image in terms of attracting potential investments. Read the full article here>>


The 2023 Autumn Statement: Reflecting on the Implications for Businesses

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has been closely analysing the recently released 2023 Autumn Statement, and it is a must-read for anyone concerned about the impact on businesses.

The Autumn statement seemed to prioritise political imperatives over the needs of businesses, but there are a few positives. However, the big question is: do these measures go far enough?

Find out more about the permanent 'full expensing' decision, the changes to National Insurance contributions, and the extension of business rates discounts. But also, discover what the Chamber believes was missed and where more support is needed.

Don't miss out on this insightful analysis. Read the full article now>>

As an organisation, we will be ramping up our lobbying efforts to engage with all major parties and push for the necessary reviews, commitments, and funds required to address these pressing issues.


What’s your social value?

Apart from providing good and services and employing people, Suffolk businesses provide a vast amount of social value for all of us – from reducing carbon and improving the environment, from having a ‘buy local first’ policy to encouraging staff to volunteer.

In 2024 Suffolk Chamber of Commerce would like to showcase some of the amazing social value that businesses are creating. The Chamber will also be highlighting how social value can help businesses to win and retain customers, and make staff proud that they are working for a company with purpose.

If you would like to know more about social value or have a case study about how you are creating social value and would like to promote it, please contact


Workplace Equity Commission

Creating more equitable workplaces will have huge benefits for both society and business.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) wants to help smaller employers adapt the way they operate to make it easier for people from diverse talent pools to access jobs and progress in their careers.

BCC has convened a Workplace Equity Commission, bringing together Chamber CEOs, businesses, and experts from across civic society.

The Commission defines ‘workplace equity’ as creating a level playing field for individuals, recognising that we do not all start from the same place and that adjustments may be required to provide fair access to opportunity. 

The Commission is inviting views and insights on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) best practice in business, as well as any challenges firms are facing, and where support is needed.

Businesses, individuals and organisations with views and experience are all encouraged to contribute to the research. If you have any evidence that you think will be of interest to the Commission, please contact


Net Zero Business Support

Businesses in Suffolk can access free net zero support delivered by the Sustainable Business Services Team at Groundwork East, including carbon footprint calculations, decarbonisation plans and advice on grant funding. Find out more on the Carbon Charter website.


Developments in Sustainable Solutions!

The Suffolk Chamber Net Zero & Climate Adaptation Group met recently, gathering thought leaders, including Dr. Geoff Darch of Anglian Water, Esme Yuill of Transport East, and Chris Fallon of Roadfill, addressing critical topics shaping our region's path to a sustainable future.

Water Management Strategies: Dr. Geoff Darch delved into plans addressing water scarcity for both domestic and non-domestic users in the face of climate change.

EV Charging Infrastructure: Esme Yuill shed light on Transport East's research revealing the challenges in our region's current low EV charging capacity.

Recycled Plastic Roads: Chris Fallon of Roadfill showcased innovative approaches, manufacturing recycled plastics into pellets for new road materials.

Find out more here >>

The Net Zero & Climate Adaptation Group, chaired by Richard Buckingham, plays a pivotal role in Suffolk Chamber's commitment to sustainability. As one of seven policy development forums, including Transport & Infrastructure, People & Skills, International Trade, Economy, Social Value, and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, the Chamber is actively shaping the future through collaboration and knowledge exchange. Find out more about the Chamber priorities

There are clear calls to action for the Chamber, particularly in leading initiatives with water companies to navigate a future of reduced water use and exploring a potential EV charge point sharing scheme.


Menopause & Me

The menopause and perimenopause affects everyone – at home and at work. It not only affects menopausal people, but their colleagues, families and friends too.

Menopause & Me is an exciting and important project delivered by Suffolk Libraries in partnership with Suffolk Mind and funded by the Department for Health & Social Care.

Suffolk Mind is hosting a free to access fully-funded online training that focuses on raising awareness of the menopause and how its impact and associated symptoms can be supported and managed within the workplace.

This training will help you to provide a more menopause-friendly work environment; offering guidance to employees and providing techniques to support staff. The training will help you confidently manage conversations around the menopause with your colleagues and put your policy into practice. The next training sessions are:

Wednesday 31 January 2024, 9.30AM - 4PM
Wednesday 13 March 2024, 9.30AM - 4PM

Find out more about Menopause & Me>>


Planning fee increase in England

On Wednesday 6 December 2023, the UK government increased planning application fees. Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is supporting the British Chambers of Commerce call for all additional fees to be ringfenced to improve planning services.

The main points of the fee increase include:
• An increase of 35% for applications for major development and 25% for all other applications.
• An annual indexation of planning applications fees, capped at 10%, from 1 April 2025.
• Removing the fee exemption for repeat applications (the ‘free-go’).
• Reducing the Planning Guarantee for non-major planning applications from 26 to 16 weeks.

Statutory time limits for the determination of planning applications are 13 weeks for applications for major development,10 weeks for applications for technical details consent, and 8 weeks for all other types of development. Where a non-major planning application takes longer than the statutory period to decide, and an extended period has not been agreed with the applicant, the government’s policy is now that the decision should be made within 16 weeks at most in order to comply with the ‘planning guarantee’. If the 16 week period is exceeded the applicant may be able to claim a refund of the fee paid.

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Suffolk Chamber

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