Doncaster Chamber says “urgent intervention” is needed to support businesses

The CEO of the city’s commerce hub has responded to the Chancellor’s long term plan for the economy which he announced last week.
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Doncaster Chamber of Commerce has urged the government “not to lose sight of what really matters to local businesses” in response to the Chancellor’s long term plan.

Last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt revealed his long term plan for the economy ahead of the Spring Budget to turn the UK into “the world’s next Silicon Valley”.

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He highlighted “the four E’s of economic growth: Enterprise, Education, Employment and Everywhere (referring to how economic benefits must be felt across the whole country).

Dan FellDan Fell
Dan Fell

He also singled out the Digital, Life Sciences, Green Energy and Advanced Manufacturing industries, calling on them to innovate and take risks.

Reflecting on the content of this speech and what it means for local businesses, Dan Fell, Chief Exec of Doncaster Chamber, said: “Some of the sentiments outlined by the Chancellor are admirable. It was a refreshingly upbeat vision for the future and one that shows that the Government at least understands there is a an urgent need to restore business confidence across the country.

“However, there are still areas where we need greater clarity and more urgent intervention if business confidence is to be restored in the short-term. After all, having a long-term plan is all well and good, but many businesses are struggling right now.

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“Firms are currently beset by the combined pressures of inflation, skyrocketing energy prices, recruitment difficulties and skills shortages and these all need to be addressed if we are to ever arrive at the bright future Jeremy Hunt envisions. The government is going to be judged by its actions and not by the warm words of today’s speech, no matter how encouraging they may be on the surface.

“Finally, those key sectors that the Chancellor focussed on in his speech are going to be integral to our future. No one can deny that digital, green energy, life sciences and advanced manufacturing are going to play a significant role in the economy going forward, yet it’s vital that we don’t fall into the trap of ‘picking winners’ at the expense of creating an overarching business environment in which all sectors can thrive.

“We want to see a future where no viable businesses get left behind and where the government offers all areas of the UK support in terms of skills, energy and infrastructure that is fit-for-purpose. On that note — and in reference to the Chancellor’s “Everywhere” pillar — we are calling for places across the country to have fully developed powers, so that local authorities can do what needs to be done in order to retain talent and stop young people from leaving in search of opportunities elsewhere.

“There was some laudable content in the Chancellor’s speech but there many outstanding issues to be addressed if the government is to regain the trust of business communities and convince them that it is serious about achieving economic growth and delivering a prosperous future for all of the UK.”