August 2015 Policy Update

No More A14 Delays in Suffolk

No More A14 Delays In SuffolkRepresentatives from Suffolk recently met with Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP to progress the Suffolk Chamber-led campaign for No More A14 Delays in Suffolk.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey, Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill and Nick Burfield, Policy Director at Suffolk Chamber lobbied the Minister for investments to be made to improve the capacity, resilience and flow of the road. Read a press article in relation to the meeting and find the campaign brochure and video clips from the campaign launch at http://www.suffolkchamber.co.uk/policy/infrastructure/no_more_a14_delays_in_suffolk/

Launch of Apprenticeships Suffolk Business Service

Apprenticeships Suffolk Business ServiceHelp is at hand to make taking on an apprentice easier for your business with the new Apprenticeships Suffolk Business Service (ASBS).

The service puts quality at the forefront and can help you access a range of business support including finding the right apprentice for your business.

This impartial and professional service, run by TCHC and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce will signpost businesses to local providers and support throughout the process of apprenticeship recruitment. ASBS will find you the best apprenticeship available, ensuring that your apprentice receives the highest quality training that meets the needs of your business.

ASBS understands local business issues and is there to help your organisation succeed. If you would like to find out more or to meet with an advisor call 01473 694829, email info@asbs.org.net or visit the website www.asbs.org.uk

Congratulations to Ministers

Suffolk Chamber has written letters of congratulation on their appointments to: The Rt. Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport; The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Business Secretary; and The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Amongst other topics, the Chamber letters have stressed the importance and relevance of:

  • campaigns such as ‘No Toll Tax on Suffolk’ and the recently launched ‘No More A14 delays in Suffolk’;
  • the need for an hourly Ipswich to Peterborough rail service;
  • the Chamber’s role in the delivery of New Anglia Growth Hub, the Employer Training Incentive Pilot and Suffolk Apprenticeship Brokerage Service;
  • the importance of the energy sector to the Suffolk economy; and
  • the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Business Manifesto A Business Plan for Britain, towards the development of which Suffolk Chamber of Commerce made a significant contribution;

The letters can be read below:

2015-06-15 Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP

2015-06-15 Rt. Hon Sajid Javid MP

2015-06-18 Rt. Hon Amber Rudd MP

New Anglia Growth Hub has beaten its target of providing support for 3,000 businesses

The Growth Hub, delivered on behalf of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and funded through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, offers firms across Suffolk and Norfolk access to free face-to-face support from a team of 10 business growth advisers.

It was launched at the Suffolk Show last year and has recently celebrated its first anniversary.

Besides its network of growth advisers, the hub also operates an online information portal and telephone helpline, provides support to businesses in accessing faster broadband and acts as a first point of contact for grant applications.

In engaging with more than 3,000 businesses during its first 12 months, the hub has provided more than 10,000 hours of face-to-face support.

Read more at:

 http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/new_anglia_growth_hub_celebrates_successful_first_year_1_4085022

First EAFRD Growth Programme Call for New Anglia announced

The first call has been published for projects under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) element of the EU Growth Programme in the New Anglia LEP area.

This call is for micro, small and medium-sized businesses seeking to invest in processing, marketing and development of agricultural products and is being run through the Rural Payments Agency.

Projects can bid for grants of between £35-250k at an intervention rate not exceeding 40% of the eligible costs of the project.

The closing date for this call is set for Friday 30 October 2015, though a similar call will be published at a further point during the Programme.  Further calls under other elements of EAFRD will be published later in 2015 and throughout 2016.

The call specification can be found at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/sme-support-call-in-new-anglia-24rd15bs0001 The specification includes further information on the nature of the call, how to apply and contacts for further information and support.

Other calls that are launched, in New Anglia or elsewhere in England, through EAFRD, the European Regional Development Fund or the European Social Fund will be published at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Trade Survey 2015

The British Chamber of Commerce recently surveyed businesses across the country on a series of issues relating to trade and export. The key findings from members of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce (who made 71 responses) are that:

  • The results indicate a complex picture relating to economic outlook – with indicators of confidence and concern for businesses;
  • Domestically, businesses seem to be less concerned than previously about competition, but there is an increase in concerns relating to skills;
  • There has been an increase in the proportion of respondents whose businesses are involved in export activity;
  • Access to distributors, agents and customers is a priority for those seeking to expand export operations or looking to break into new markets;
  • A much lower proportion of respondents from Suffolk engage in online sales for exporting than nationally; and
  • Engagement with UKTI remains steady whilst no businesses this year report engagement with UK Export Finance.

The full report is at:

2015-05-22 Suffolk Chamber Trade Survey

BCC: Only radical change will boost export performance

Commenting on the final report of the independent Cole Commission on Exports, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, has said:

“With the UK set to miss the Prime Minister’s 2020 export target by over £300bn, it’s clear that the current approach to export isn’t working.

The Cole Commission is right to call for a radical shake-up that places trade at the very heart of government activity. The Commission’s Action Plan sets out a number of realistic and positive steps that would make a demonstrable difference – from Cabinet-level backing for exports to the re-focusing of UKTI on larger, more complex trade deals.

While the government decides what it will do next, we won’t wait. The British Chambers of Commerce will continue to grow our global business network and deliver real, practical and sustainable support to UK exporters around the world, with or without government support. As the Cole Commission report states, no other organisation has the same local and international footprint, infrastructure, or the entrepreneurial flexibility needed to help small and medium-sized companies meet their export and trade ambitions.

The onus is now on the government to demonstrate that it is ready to radically change its approach, and set a credible plan to meet its own export targets.”

Read the Cole Commission Action Plan at:

EDT 2015-07-15 EXT ESX 006 COL pdf

Welcome growth but no room for complacency

The preliminary GDP figures for Q2 2015 published on 28 July by the ONS show:

  • GDP growth in Q2 2015 was 0.7%, up from 0.4% in the first quarter;
  • Services output rose by 0.7%, total production was up by 1.0% but construction was flat;
  • GDP in Q2 2015 was 2.6% higher than a year ago and was 5.2% higher than in the pre-recession peak  in Q1 2008; and
  • GDP growth matches the forecast made by the BCC last month.

David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "These figures show a welcome acceleration in growth, with the services sector once again being the driving force but today's figures also point to other sectors where life is more difficult.”

The full BCC press release is at:

http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/bcc-welcome-growth-but-no-room-for-complacency.html

BCC Economic Review for July 2015

The BCC has published its UK Monthly Economic Review for July 2015, which provides an easy-to-use commentary on the key domestic and international economic indicators for UK businesses.

This month's headlines are:

  • Q1 UK GDP growth revised up, driven by less pessimistic construction output figures;
  • Latest economic data suggests a pick-up in UK economic growth in Q2; and
  • Eurozone economy showing signs of improvement, but Greece is on the brink.

Read more at:

2015-07-06 BCC UK Monthly Economic Review

UK wins record number of investment projects

The UK has maintained its position as the number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Europe after attracting a record number of FDI projects over the past year. The annual investment figures from UK Trade & Investment for the 2014/15 financial year show the UK attracted 1,988 FDI projects - 12 per cent more than 2013/14 – creating almost 85,000 new jobs across the UK. The UK’s strong performance during 2014 has seen the value of accumulated FDI in the UK break the £1 trillion level for the first time - the highest in Europe and third largest in the world. Read more on GOV.UK.

Cutting red tape

Small Business Minister Anna Soubry has launched the Twitter account @CutRedTapeUK inviting small businesses to tweet them examples of burdensome red tape and regulations. The account tweets using the hashtag #CutRedTape and focuses on a series of specific areas and themes around regulation, encouraging followers to share their experiences.

They are already receiving really valuable comments. @CutRedTapeUK is also looking for examples of good practice, to share with a wider audience. You can join the conversation #CutRedTape

Business Rates Appeal process - have your say

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is seeking business input to its improvement programme for the business rates appeal process. In particular, they are looking at how rate payers use the online system to find information about their property, view, amend or compare it with other properties nearby, what problems they experience and how they can improve the system.

Businesses interested in shaping the future of the online appeal system should contact Hannah Denny at VOA via e-mail or on 07748156669.

Disability Confident

Disability Confident celebrates its second anniversary with a week of activity beginning 27 July to help more employers to remove barriers, increase understanding and ensure that disabled people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. A LinkedIn campaign page will be highlighting help available to employers, whether recruiting disabled people or if employees develop a health condition. You can email the Disability Confident team for guidance and to share your Disability Confident stories and join the Disability Confident LinkedIn group to find out more.

To discuss these and other policy issues, contact:

John Dugmore on john@suffolkchamber.co.uk
Nick Burfield on nick@suffolkchamber.co.uk

New Anglia Growth Hub has beaten its target of providing support for 3,000 businesses

The Growth Hub, delivered on behalf of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and funded through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, offers firms across Suffolk and Norfolk access to free face-to-face support from a team of 10 business growth advisers.

It was launched at the Suffolk Show last year and has recently celebrated its first anniversary.

Besides its network of growth advisers, the hub also operates an online information portal and telephone helpline, provides support to businesses in accessing faster broadband and acts as a first point of contact for grant applications.

In engaging with more than 3,000 businesses during its first 12 months, the hub has provided more than 10,000 hours of face-to-face support.

Read more at:

 http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/new_anglia_growth_hub_celebrates_successful_first_year_1_4085022

First EAFRD Growth Programme Call for New Anglia announced

The first call has been published for projects under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) element of the EU Growth Programme in the New Anglia LEP area.

This call is for micro, small and medium-sized businesses seeking to invest in processing, marketing and development of agricultural products and is being run through the Rural Payments Agency.

Projects can bid for grants of between £35-250k at an intervention rate not exceeding 40% of the eligible costs of the project.

The closing date for this call is set for Friday 30 October 2015, though a similar call will be published at a further point during the Programme.  Further calls under other elements of EAFRD will be published later in 2015 and throughout 2016.

The call specification can be found at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/sme-support-call-in-new-anglia-24rd15bs0001 The specification includes further information on the nature of the call, how to apply and contacts for further information and support.

Other calls that are launched, in New Anglia or elsewhere in England, through EAFRD, the European Regional Development Fund or the European Social Fund will be published at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Trade Survey 2015

The British Chamber of Commerce recently surveyed businesses across the country on a series of issues relating to trade and export. The key findings from members of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce (who made 71 responses) are that:

  • The results indicate a complex picture relating to economic outlook – with indicators of confidence and concern for businesses;
  • Domestically, businesses seem to be less concerned than previously about competition, but there is an increase in concerns relating to skills;
  • There has been an increase in the proportion of respondents whose businesses are involved in export activity;
  • Access to distributors, agents and customers is a priority for those seeking to expand export operations or looking to break into new markets;
  • A much lower proportion of respondents from Suffolk engage in online sales for exporting than nationally; and
  • Engagement with UKTI remains steady whilst no businesses this year report engagement with UK Export Finance.

The full report is at:

BCC: Only radical change will boost export performance

Commenting on the final report of the independent Cole Commission on Exports, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, has said:

“With the UK set to miss the Prime Minister’s 2020 export target by over £300bn, it’s clear that the current approach to export isn’t working.

The Cole Commission is right to call for a radical shake-up that places trade at the very heart of government activity. The Commission’s Action Plan sets out a number of realistic and positive steps that would make a demonstrable difference – from Cabinet-level backing for exports to the re-focusing of UKTI on larger, more complex trade deals.

While the government decides what it will do next, we won’t wait. The British Chambers of Commerce will continue to grow our global business network and deliver real, practical and sustainable support to UK exporters around the world, with or without government support. As the Cole Commission report states, no other organisation has the same local and international footprint, infrastructure, or the entrepreneurial flexibility needed to help small and medium-sized companies meet their export and trade ambitions.

The onus is now on the government to demonstrate that it is ready to radically change its approach, and set a credible plan to meet its own export targets.”

Read the Cole Commission Action Plan at:

Welcome growth but no room for complacency

The preliminary GDP figures for Q2 2015 published on 28 July by the ONS show:

  • GDP growth in Q2 2015 was 0.7%, up from 0.4% in the first quarter;
  • Services output rose by 0.7%, total production was up by 1.0% but construction was flat;
  • GDP in Q2 2015 was 2.6% higher than a year ago and was 5.2% higher than in the pre-recession peak  in Q1 2008; and
  • GDP growth matches the forecast made by the BCC last month.

David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "These figures show a welcome acceleration in growth, with the services sector once again being the driving force but today's figures also point to other sectors where life is more difficult.”

The full BCC press release is at:

http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/bcc-welcome-growth-but-no-room-for-complacency.html

BCC Economic Review for July 2015

The BCC has published its UK Monthly Economic Review for July 2015, which provides an easy-to-use commentary on the key domestic and international economic indicators for UK businesses.

This month's headlines are:

  • Q1 UK GDP growth revised up, driven by less pessimistic construction output figures;
  • Latest economic data suggests a pick-up in UK economic growth in Q2; and
  • Eurozone economy showing signs of improvement, but Greece is on the brink.

Read more at:

UK wins record number of investment projects

The UK has maintained its position as the number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Europe after attracting a record number of FDI projects over the past year. The annual investment figures from UK Trade & Investment for the 2014/15 financial year show the UK attracted 1,988 FDI projects - 12 per cent more than 2013/14 – creating almost 85,000 new jobs across the UK. The UK’s strong performance during 2014 has seen the value of accumulated FDI in the UK break the £1 trillion level for the first time - the highest in Europe and third largest in the world. Read more on GOV.UK.

Cutting red tape

Small Business Minister Anna Soubry has launched the Twitter account @CutRedTapeUK inviting small businesses to tweet them examples of burdensome red tape and regulations. The account tweets using the hashtag #CutRedTape and focuses on a series of specific areas and themes around regulation, encouraging followers to share their experiences.

They are already receiving really valuable comments. @CutRedTapeUK is also looking for examples of good practice, to share with a wider audience. You can join the conversation #CutRedTape

Business Rates Appeal process - have your say

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is seeking business input to its improvement programme for the business rates appeal process. In particular, they are looking at how rate payers use the online system to find information about their property, view, amend or compare it with other properties nearby, what problems they experience and how they can improve the system.

Businesses interested in shaping the future of the online appeal system should contact Hannah Denny at VOA via e-mail or on 07748156669.

Disability Confident

Disability Confident celebrates its second anniversary with a week of activity beginning 27 July to help more employers to remove barriers, increase understanding and ensure that disabled people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. A LinkedIn campaign page will be highlighting help available to employers, whether recruiting disabled people or if employees develop a health condition. You can email the Disability Confident team for guidance and to share your Disability Confident stories and join the Disability Confident LinkedIn group to find out more.

To discuss these and other policy issues, contact:

John Dugmore on john@suffolkchamber.co.uk
Nick Burfield on nick@suffolkchamber.co.uk