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January Business & Policy Briefing

R&D Tax Reliefs - a good system gone bad?

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, through its Economy Group, is asking businesses to share their experiences of R&D Tax Reliefs in this short survey, the results of which we will use in our engagements with Treasury ministers, shadow ministers, Suffolk's MPs, other Parliamentary candidates and the British Chambers of Commerce.

We aim to use the evidence provided by Suffolk businesses to:

• Lobby the main political parties to commit to continuing R&D Tax Reliefs after the next General Election
• Ensure that the current issues being experienced by legitimate applicants are addressed with immediate effect

Survey closes 26th January - share your thoughts here.

Ely/Haughley rail junctions

After a number of productive correspondence with both Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Mark Harper MP and Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce continues to be at the forefront of lobbying to secure final Treasury approval for the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement programme and Haughley Junction upgrade. We are grateful to the ongoing and active support of all Suffolk’s MPs in this renewed effort over the last couple of months, especially Rt Hon. Therese Coffey MP and Peter Aldous MP who have raised the matter at Transport Questions and Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP who has recently written to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Laura Trott MP.

For further information please email

A statement from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, Tim Passmore: proposed increase in precept to fund Constabulary in 2024/25

"As your Police and Crime Commissioner, setting the policing budget is one of my most important responsibilities. I must ensure that the Chief Constable has the resources required to provide an efficient and effective service."

"Later this month I will need to make a decision about the policing element of the council tax precept. I am planning to ask the Police and Crime Panel to support my proposal to raise the policing element of the precept by £13 a year (for a Band D property) to enable us to maintain the standard of service that the public expect. I would be very grateful if you could take part in the survey and let me know what you think by 26th January."

Find out more

Introduction to the Best Health and Work Partnership

The Partnership was established as a subgroup of Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board in 2022 to deliver the ‘Good Work and Health’ strategic priority of the Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

Run as a collaboration between members that represent all sectors, the Partnership is administered by Suffolk County Council’s Public Health and Communities team and chaired by Richard Brame, who is also chair of Suffolk Chamber’s People & Skills Group

The Partnerships ambition is for more people in Suffolk to have access to good quality jobs and fair work and is looking for more businesses to join. The Partnership meets quarterly, usually via Teams for a 90 minute meeting. Members have the opportunity volunteer to take part in task and finish groups, which in turn contribute to the People & Skills Group.

For further information please email


Tackling crucial workplace topics: People & Skills Group Address Bereavement and Menopause Issues in the Workplace

Suffolk Chamber's People & Skills Group (PSG) held a productive meeting, tackling two crucial workplace topics: bereavement and the menopause. The PSG, one of Suffolk Chamber's policy development forums, aims to facilitate knowledge sharing, hold decision-makers accountable, and shape lobbying campaigns. Read the full article here

QES Results: Mixed Sentiment and Activity Levels Persist in Suffolk Businesses, Reflecting Economic Challenges

In analysing the slight improvements experienced by the Suffolk business community in the three months to September 2023, we asked the question whether this was the start of an upward trend or merely a statistical blip. The figures for the final quarter would suggest the latter. Read the full article here


Who is supporting the manager?

A group of researchers at The University of Suffolk are conducting a study to explore the impact of agile working arrangements (i.e. forms of flexible working) on managerial belonging. The idea is to consider if practising and/or managing agile working arrangements has impacted on managerial wellbeing from the perspective of belonging.

The university is inviting anyone in a managerial role to take part in online interviews and/or a focus group. The focus groups are running online on Wednesday 31st January 2024, and Thursday 29th February 2024 09.30-11.30. You can choose which part of the study you wish to take part in, and only would need to attend one of the focus groups.

If you are interested in finding out more or taking part, please email Dr Laura Reeves


Suffolk Libraries Champion Menopause-Friendly Workplaces: Local SMEs Invited to Take the 'Menopause & Me' Pledge for a Supportive and Inclusive Workplace Culture

Suffolk Libraries are encouraging local SME employers to sign up to the Menopause & Me Pledge, and show the world they are dedicated to creating a menopause-friendly workplace.

The Menopause & Me pledge is intended to not only serve as an act of commitment to support colleagues experiencing the menopause, but it is also an opportunity to access support and resources to help organisations do this.

When employers sign up to the pledge, they commit to:
- Send a senior staff member to attend free online menopause training with Suffolk Mind
- Implement a workplace menopause policy (Suffolk Libraries can provide a free policy template)
- Create a menopause-friendly workplace and facilitate open and honest conversations on the subject

The next available dates for the Employers Training are as follows-
Wednesday 31 January 2024, 9.30AM - 4PM
Wednesday 13 March 2024, 9.30AM - 4PM

For more information and to sign up to the pledge, please visit Sign the Employer's Pledge | Menopause & Me or contact

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Suffolk Chamber

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