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June Business & Policy Briefing

General Election 2024

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce launched its 2024 General Election manifesto – and urged all local Parliamentary candidates to indicate how far they would back its 15-point programme - aimed at securing renewed sustainable economic growth for everyone in Suffolk.

The principles that underpin Suffolk Chamber’s 2024 manifesto are:

  • Lower and smarter taxes, reliefs and legislation that incentivise and don’t penalise risk-taking and innovation
  • Systemic and programmed infrastructure upgrades to unlock private sector activity and investment
  • Empowering businesses to be at the centre of positive economic and social changes
  • Streamlining bureaucracy and supply-side blockages and reducing public debt
  • Fairer revenue funding for Suffolk
  • Deepening devolution of Central Government functions to maximise agile partnership working between Suffolk Chamber and the public sector

Based on evidence of real business experiences collected through investigations over the last four years and more by the Chamber’s respected policy groups, the 15-point General Election manifesto includes key asks such as:

  • Priority sign-off by The Treasury for Ely/Haughley rail junction improvements
  • Upgrade of all A14 pinch points in Suffolk (including the Orwell Bridge and J55 Copdock Interchange) in 2025-30
  • Replacement of business rates by a sales or turnover tax
  • R&D Tax Credits Scheme to be retained and bureaucracy reduced
  • Equal per capita national funding across all key departments for Suffolk (e.g. Adult Education, SEND, Police etc.)
  • Employers to remain at the centre of skills pipeline planning after the end of the Norfolk & Suffolk LSIP
  • Top-slicing of Integrated Care System budgets directly to business representative organisations to promote positive workplace health outcomes

Developing a Transformational Economic Strategy for Suffolk

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is supporting the new Suffolk Business Board that has been formed by Suffolk County Council, following the transfer of New Anglia LEP responsibilities to the council.

The first task of the Business Board is to develop a compelling Economic Strategy and Action Plan for Suffolk.  To help in developing the strategy, Suffolk Chamber members are invited to take part in one of a number of Economic Strategy workshops that will take place during July.

Your expertise and insights will be instrumental in shaping a robust strategy and plan that leverages Suffolk’s strengths and addresses its challenges. The aim is to identify strategic initiatives that will spur sustainable economic growth, foster innovation and ensure inclusive prosperity for all.

The workshops take place on:

11th July 9:30am to 12pm at EpiCentre in Haverhill

15th July 1pm to 3:30pm The Mix in Stowmarket

17th July 09:30 - 12pm Gainsborough's House in Sudbury

18th July 1pm to 3:30pm at Orbis Energy Lowestoft

22nd July - 10am to 12:30pm at Ipswich Town Football Club

If you are able to join one of the workshops,  please complete the attendance form by clicking here no later than 2nd July 2024. For any other inquiries email

Suffolk digital campaigning group launched

An initiative aimed at boosting business awareness and use of 5G mobile and other cutting-edge communications technologies to gain competitive advantage has been successfully launched in the county.Read the full article. 

Clear Action Needed to Help Firms Navigate Digital Future

The British Chambers of Commerce has launched its Digital Revolution report outlining a framework to create a connected, dynamic and secure future for UK businesses.  

Among the recommendations are:  

  • Government should appoint an AI champion for SMEs who will help spearhead a programme to improve business use of artificial intelligence. 
  • Government should explore social tariffs for lower-income areas, to enable more people to access broadband services – including small businesses.
  • Wireless Network infrastructure should be strengthened through a pro-investment policy framework supported by a planning regime that unlocks the UK’s 5G ambitions.
  • The government should work with the insurance industry to create a reinsurance pool that underwrites cyber risk for business.

The Digital Revolution report is a key part of the BCC’s Election Manifesto focusing on the ‘Future of the Economy’. It draws on expertise from businesses of all sizes, academia, Chambers and think-tanks.  

Improving people, skills and businesses

The recent Suffolk Chamber People & Skills Group meeting was kindly hosted by Greene King at the Westgate Brewery in Bury St Edmunds.

Subjects that were discussed included the Armed Forces Covenant, Diabetes 2, AI in the workplace and bereavement in the workplace. Presentations that were made at the meeting are available here.

The meeting agreed that the following will help to improve people, skills and businesses in Suffolk:

Consider signing the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a pledge to acknowledge that those who served in the armed forces and their families should be treated with fairness and respect in their communities.

Sarah Dyche ( from Rosedale Surgery is happy to speak to organisations who wish to be involved with DMLife and provide support to those diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Dr Kakia Chatsiou (K.Chatsiou@UOS.AC.UK) and the University of Suffolk are eager to speak to businesses about the implementation of AI within the workplace.

The Flexible AI Upskilling Fund pilot scheme, which was launched on 1st May 2024, will support SMEs by match-funding AI skills training for their employees.

Businesses are invited to join Suffolk Chamber’s Bereavement in the Workplace Task & Finish Group. This group aims to look at ways that we can help companies and their workforce to provide support in the event of bereavements. Please email to register your interest in joining the group.

The next People & Skills Group meeting is scheduled for 4th December and will be held at Suffolk Chamber’s new offices at the University of Suffolk. It will be a hybrid meeting with an online option for anyone who can’t make the meeting in person. BOOK HERE.

Community Health and Wellbeing Worker Apprenticeship

The Community Health and Wellbeing Worker Level 3 Apprenticeship offers a unique opportunity to develop people who have a passion for supporting Health and Wellbeing within communities and our workplaces.  The apprenticeship standard is focused on working in partnership with individuals and their communities to identify and address health and wellbeing needs, improve health, prevent ill-health and reduce inequalities.  The apprenticeship provides a strong foundation of knowledge, skills and behaviours and enables the apprentice to:

  • address the causes of poor health and wellbeing in the broadest sense (causes of the causes). They do this by taking an holistic ‘whole person’ approach regarding physical, mental, emotional and social health and wellbeing and resilience.
  • work with individuals, groups and communities to identify what matters to them, building on their strengths to improve health and wellbeing.
  • understand the local and accessible services and resources available, to which people in the community can be signposted to support their health and wellbeing needs.
  • identify gaps in available services and resources preventing individuals and communities from achieving optimal health and wellbeing.
  • build relationships with local organisations and groups.

The Department of Health and Social Care are holding a virtual employer engagement webinar on 03 July 2024 at 10.00 am to 12:00 pm to share more information with organisations interested in this apprenticeship.

The target audience is service leads, managers, team leaders, workforce wellbeing leads, apprenticeship leads and staff with responsibility for workforce, training, and upskilling. 

To book your place at this event please click here 

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact

West Suffolk Chamber Forum Event 

Our Summer Forum for West Suffolk Chamber members is focused on innovation and technology to help with your business needs for growth and the future. The forum will be an opportunity to discuss with West Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council, Freeport East and Cambridge Ahead how they can support innovation in West Suffolk

The forum meeting is from 8:30am to 10:00am on Wednesday 26th June at the Epicentre in Haverhill and breakfast will be available. The forum is free for Suffolk Chamber members. Book your place here

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Suffolk Chamber

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