The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Action For Business

By Chris Fletcher - Policy Director at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

This week, the Government had a chance to get back on the front foot after taking a battering in the local elections, and after a series of blunders and bungles around the communication of policy changes, especially in the aftermath of the Budget. On Tuesday, all three party leaders descended on Essex with the Prime Minister and Deputy PM re-launching the coalition, and Ed Miliband continuing to ride the crest of a wave following recent election successes. Wednesday was the Queen’s Speech when the coalition’s priorities for work were announced through a series of Bills. We were told by a number of government figures that growth was the number one priority and this week would see a new focus and emphasis on getting the economy back on track.


Now, I’ve been out and about quite a bit this week, but as I’m writing this on Friday morning, I’m worried that I’ve missed something. Yes the right noises have been made; yes, those hardy perennials - red tape and legislation - have been highlighted in the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill; yes, the Banking Reform Bill sounds like it will, at last, start to reduce the dangers of “casino banking” (TM Vince Cable), but it all just seems a bit half-hearted, and dare I say, familiar?

Of course, there needs to be the right environment in place to help business and no doubt some of the measures announced this week will go some way to achieve that, but I’m not convinced they go far enough. Where is the real action for business that will get growth properly back at the top of the agenda? Where are the bold innovative ideas? Certainly not, it seems, in Whitehall.

Well, for some time now we’ve been working with our members – real businesses in the real economy – identifying key issues that we think need changing and sorting out. I’ve mentioned this previously and it is our ‘Action for Business’ programme and you can find out here what this looks like http://bit.ly/IPhLfi .

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be holding our member committee meetings looking at the latest issues affecting business around transport, the economy and low carbon, amongst others. A list of the meetings and issues can be found here: http://www.gmchamber.co.uk/ourwork . These aren’t talking shops; these are groups of members that want to see something happen to help business in a real and tangible way, and you can get involved.

I’m always open to ideas and suggestions as to what needs doing to help business. I’m also more than happy to tell whoever needs to be told what is needed to take real action for business not, as it appears in some quarters, just to pay lip service to it.

chris.fletcher@gmchamber.co.uk

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