Business leaders from around the East Midlands head to Westminster to unveil demands for next government

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Business leaders from across the East Midlands have unveiled their demands of the next UK Government.

The East Midlands Chamber, which represents businesses in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, took a delegation of representatives of more than 50 member businesses to Westminster this week (November 25) to meet MPs and launch its 2015 General Election business manifesto.

The event was sponsored by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, the Shadow Minister for Small Business and was also attended by a host of regional MPs.

The manifesto was developed in collaboration with businesses from across all three counties and proposes measures which the chamber believes will create an economy for long-term success and support a vibrant and prosperous East Midlands.

Chamber Chief Executive George Cowcher said: “Over the course of the current Parliament, businesses in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire have demonstrated a robustness, tenacity and ambition that has placed the East Midlands at the front of the pack in terms of driving economic growth and private sector job creation.

“However, decisions taken over the term of the next Parliament will be instrumental in determining the future direction of this growth. Businesses are committed to ensuring the resource, knowledge and skills which exist in the East Midlands are utilised to full effect to deliver growth.

“In doing so, it is essential that their commitment is demonstrably reciprocated by our politicians and the Chamber and its members were pleased to get the opportunity to go down to Westminster to state the case of local business directly to our elected representatives.”

The Chamber’s business manifesto is made up of 23 individual policy recommendations, which include:

+ Placing business at the centre of local growth by offering clear commitments on devolution and the role business can play, guaranteeing a business ratepayers’ vote on local economic strategy, legislating to increase opportunities for SMEs to benefit from public contracts and committing to further rounds of the Regional Growth Fund.

+ Delivering on long-term infrastructure needs by developing and implementing a 50-year UK energy security strategy, commissioning an independent body to deliver the National Infrastructure Plan, taking bold decisions to meet housing needs, ensuring every business has access to superfast broadband and working for delivery of the Eastern leg of HS2 as rapidly as possible.

+ Fixing the link between education and the world of work by measuring employment outcomes in secondary school assessments, ensuring work experience is embedded into education, championing vocational options in education and ensuring a link between the curriculum and the demands of the labour market.

+ Supporting East Midlands businesses to succeed overseas by reforming Air Passenger Duty to support development of new routes, ensuring Government backing for the development of global business-to-business networking, developing UK Export Finance into a ‘best in class’ agency and introducing a ‘fast track’ passport scheme for UK exports.

+ Reducing the cost of doing business by undertaking a root and branch review of the broken Business Rates system, delivering regulation to encourage a more flexible and less burdensome trading environment, developing a programme for policy-makers in business-led departments to spend time at Chambers, ensuring the traditional routes to business finance are effective and new route development is supported, acting to simplify and increase transparency in the tax system and promising no unilateral measures that would increase energy costs for UK business.