Column by Dan Fell, chief executive officer of Doncaster Chamber.
Throughout the EU Referendum campaign the chamber - unlike other business organisations – remained neutral.
We took this stance because we recognised that, like the British public, opinion on this issue was deeply divided amongst the business community.
Some Doncaster business leaders will be delighted by the result whilst others will be very concerned.
Doncaster Chamber have already made the obvious calls on the Government, the Treasury and Bank of England to help create conditions of confidence and stability and to do whatever is necessary to safeguard the UK’s economic growth. We have also reminded politicians that this is not the time for acrimonious politics and nor is it the time to forget other important issues such as skills, infrastructure investment and devolution.
The resignation of the Prime Minister makes this reminder all the more important. Now is a time to prioritise economics not politics.
Bringing the referendum result closer to home, I was struck by the strength of the leave vote here in South Yorkshire, particularly in comparison to London and the south east.
For me, that split betrays the fact that people in the north are frustrated to their back teeth with the economic imbalance that exists in this country between the north and the south. The Government and all political parties need to take this message seriously and move beyond slogans like the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ to make genuine inroads into this divide.
Doncaster has been enjoying an unprecedented period of economic growth and opportunity. There are many factors behind this, including great leadership and the hard work and graft of Doncaster people.
However, we should also acknowledge that Doncaster has been a big beneficiary of European money and funding over recent years, such as the White Rose Way. Some people in business will say ‘It’s our money anyway’, others will say the EU’s investment was a key factor in their decision to vote ‘remain’. We now need certainty over what our funding and governance landscape is going to look like in the future. The chamber will now be lobbying the Government hard to ensure that the borough gets the resources and responsibilities we need.
Most Doncaster firms will be anxious to move beyond the current unpredictability and volatility as quickly as possible and get back to business as usual. It is now the responsibility of the Government to create the conditions that allow that to happen. Assuming that they do, I am confident that Doncaster’s growth and regeneration will continue apace as we have so much to offer UK plc. and global markets alike.