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Suffolk initiative launched to maximise opportunities from new Parliament

A call for a Suffolk-wide approach to ensure the county receives both a fairer share of infrastructure and skills spend and a greater voice in advocating for other reforms from the next Parliament has gone out – and already gained widespread support.


Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s president, Catherine Johnson has written to over 50 leading senior decision-makers from business, local government, health and the VCFSE sectosr in the county asking for their ‘in principle’ support for The Suffolk Convention.

The aim of the non-partisan Convention is to explore whether there is the appetite to agree a broad policy platform to connect and guide participants’ respective campaigning activities after the results of the General Election are known and for the whole of the next Parliament.

In other words, the Convention will consider whether there are broad Suffolk-wide ‘asks’ of the new Parliament and especially the county’s eight MPs from 4th July onwards upon which the whole county can speak with one voice and better coordinate lobbying and campaigning activities.

Paul Simon, head of public affairs at Suffolk Chamber, explained: “When Suffolk speaks with one voice on the major issues, Westminster and Whitehall take note and act accordingly. It is division and confusion of priorities and messaging that we must avoid.”

“This General Election looks likely to be a reset opportunity for the whole of the county both with a new administration in Westminster and at least four of the Suffolk MPs being newly elected come what may.

“Suffolk Chamber believes that this is a golden chance to better coordinate our representational work and campaigning activities through our pre-existing networks and professional associations. Our aim is to better amplify the Suffolk ‘voice’ and maximise our chances of achieving positive outcomes over the next five years.”

The motivation behind calling The Suffolk Convention is both to see if there is that shared ambition and to consider the best ways of articulating that single voice and shared priorities.

It follows on from the Chamber’s high-level meetings and engagements over the last few years with a series of senior ministers and shadow ministers, including Mark Harper, Therese Coffey, Mims Davies, Rachel Reeves, Darren Jones and Louise Haigh aimed at landing Government approval for key schemes and initiatives in Suffolk.

Suffolk Chamber hopes that The Suffolk Convention will meet after the expected King’s Speech in mid-July, but before the political parties’ conference season in the autumn.

Dozens of some of the county’s largest and most influential businesses have already signalled their ‘in principle’ support, as have a number of charities, regional bodies and at least two borough and district councils. 

Suffolk Chamber has also received support for The Suffolk Convention from a wide number of candidates from across the political spectrum who are currently contesting constituencies in the county.

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General Election

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is committed to advocating for the needs and interests of the Suffolk business community.

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