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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Chamber Activity and Events at Party Conferences


By Chris Fletcher, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy

It’s party conference time yet again and this year Manchester hosts the Labour Party Conference, with the Lib Dems in Liverpool and the Conservatives in Birmingham. The next few weeks promise to be very interesting indeed. In the mainly blue corner (with Lib Dem yellow tints) the coalition parties will no doubt face some internal issues as well as defending their economic policy against ever increasing hostility. Meanwhile, over in the red corner the Labour party will elect a new leader and we’ll have fun and games as shadow ministers start to jockey for position. So for political devotees very interesting stuff but what about the real world and what about business?

It is absolutely vital that we don’t lose sight of some significant challenges ahead as the spending review gets ever closer; we still await decisions around Local Enterprise Partnerships and the impending VAT increase. We still see problems about businesses being able to easily recruit skilled staff, train employees as well as get greater access to finance.

As you hopefully will know by now, here at the Chamber we are always on the case with one or more of the above issues at any one time, either talking to businesses about them or representing their views to key decision makers. Last week for example, I met with Danny Alexander MP the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to update him on key transport infrastructure projects facing the chop and ensuring he understood their importance.

Whilst these individual meetings are useful, the Conference season offers a huge range of opportunities for intensive bursts of activity making sure that we play as big a role as possible in making sure we stand up for business and influence future decisions. Having key politicians right on your doorstep helps as well.

This year we will be undertaking activity at all 3 main conferences. I will be speaking at several fringe meetings as well as the Chamber hosting events with partners. Full details can be found on our website at: http://www.gmchamber.co.uk/your-voice/party-conferences-2010

However it’s no use just having meetings we really need the ammo to back up what we’re saying. So now, more than ever your views do matter. The current government is ready to listen and act, the opposition is ready to pounce if it doesn’t. Take advantage of what we can do for you and play a part in shaping your future.

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