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

Friday, 5 October 2012

Partly Political Broadcasts

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

Following on from the Lib Dems in Brighton last week and ahead of the Conservatives in Birmingham it was Manchester’s turn in the political spotlight this last week with the city playing host, again, to the Labour Party Conference.

With a significantly smaller “secure zone” than recent years, which allowed traffic to continue to flow through most of the City Centre and apart from one or two key speeches, for many people it would have been very easy to have missed this completely. Whether this is a good or bad thing is a debate for another time.

Whilst our focus is definitely on business issues, a key part of the work we do brings us into the political world from time to time. When we have members complaining about red tape or skills or business support we have to make sure we represent these views to the decision makers and ask for change.

So, from time to time I find myself wandering the corridors of power armed with the latest feedback from members on the issues that are having most impact on them.

But it doesn’t all revolve around Whitehall. Whilst much of the decision making goes on there (and beyond), it is important that we don’t forget that we have some very influential people on our doorstep.

Over the last 12 months the Chamber has begun a series of quarterly briefings for Greater Manchester’s MPs. It is a great opportunity to brief our local MPs, from all parties, on the issues we are working on for our members as part of Action For Business. The most recent briefing took place on Thursday in the surroundings of the Library at Manchester Cathedral and we took the opportunity to send through, beforehand, a selection of comments from members that have been made at our Action For Business Forums in the last few weeks.

We covered a wide range of subjects from issues around support for business following the disappearance of the RDA to wider economic issues and looking at some key areas for action going forward. One area of particular importance was around infrastructure investment and the role of the construction sector. Something we will be picking up at our next Property & Construction Lunch on 23rd November.

Look out for more information on our work with MPs in November’s 53 Degrees. Before then if you want to start to play your part in highlighting those local and not so local issues that are affecting your business make sure you come to one of our Action For Business Forums, book here: .

Whilst we can never guarantee that we can change the world for business, and we never would, without those initial conversations with our members we would be left with nothing to say when the opportunities come around to put the case for business to MPs, Ministers and others.

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