Chamber News

Suffolk Chamber’s survey of Parliamentary candidates: “encouraging areas of agreement, but more detail needed”

Suffolk Chamber’s survey of Parliamentary candidates: “encouraging areas of agreement, but more detail needed”

21 out of the 31 successfully nominated Parliamentary candidates in Suffolk have responded to a survey issued by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

The leading voice of business in the county quizzed the candidates as to their support for the organisation’s General Election manifesto and their answers to three, key business questions:

  • What do you think are the three biggest issues facing Suffolk businesses in the constituency which you are standing?

  • If you were elected, how do you propose working with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to address these issues?

  • To what extent do you think Brexit is an opportunity or challenge for the Suffolk business community - and in what ways?

One Brexit, six Conservative, five Green, three Labour, four Liberal Democrat and two other candidates from across the seven constituencies have replied to date.

The participating candidates mainly identified Brexit, infrastructure, and general tax/regulation such as business rates as the key issues facing the local business community. Most candidates appreciate that Brexit needs to be solved either way, whether we leave or remain but businesses need clarity and the current impasse is preventing economic growth, investment and confidence.

Infrastructure featured heavily in terms of improving roads, the rail connections as well as broadband and mobile coverage, this is key to both businesses and residents.

Candidates also realised how general tax levels will impact on businesses and that the business rates system needs reforming to help businesses, especially those on the high-street. Most candidates would also like some more support for the skills agenda.

In terms of working with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, all respondents noted the importance and reputation of the organisation and expressed a willingness to work with the Chamber to ensure dialogue with local businesses.

As to be expected, most of the candidates have a range of views on Brexit, but there is broad agreement that the country needs to move forward and decide on a path to ensure business confidence and investment can return.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber said: “We believe that the potential future for the county is one characterised by an innovative, internationally successful and diverse economy, high value and high waged jobs and a strong education sector delivering a skills base that is as good as any in the country.

“Suffolk Chamber's manifesto sets out the improvements we are looking to secure for Suffolk by bringing together broad-based coalitions to lobby for positive changes to allow our county’s dynamic and entrepreneurial businesses to grow.

“We are pleased with the response rate to our survey and found the areas of agreement with our manifesto encouraging. However, we would like to have seen more detailed responses in some cases which would have reassured us that the interests of the county’s economic wealth creators are well understood. We also found it somewhat disappointing that a third of candidates have not, to date, replied.”

Suffolk Chamber is sharing the responses, on a constituency-by-constituency basis, with its members and the general public. These can also be accessed:

Article by Suffolk Chamber