THE PRESIDENT of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce has called on ministers to make business growth a priority for 2013, following a year of mixed fortunes for the local economy.
In his Christmas and New Year message to businesses, Ian Greenaway said that although the Government had made some encouraging noises recently in both the Autumn Statement and in welcoming Lord Heseltine’s review of UK competitiveness, it must now have the conviction to deliver against its promises.
“The UK needs a strong, vibrant and healthy business sector to support the welfare bill and fund the public services we all want and need,” he said.
“Yet in many ways, our businesses aren’t being given the freedom they need to grow because they are still throttled by red tape; often struggle to recruit young people with the skills they require; cannot easily access the levels of finance they need to invest and expand; and are unable to break into new markets across the globe because of the administrative barriers placed in front of them.
“The Government has recently made encouraging noises about a long-term industrial strategy, the creation of a new business bank and plans to roll back more rules, regulations and red tape that strangle so many businesses and stop them from investing, recruiting and growing.
“But we still need to see a lot more urgency from both Westminster and Whitehall. Ministers can talk the talk, but we’ve yet to see them deliver to the level necessary to make a major difference to business growth in the short term.
“We need to get the UK’s economy running, not walking, or even worse standing still or going backwards, and that can only be achieved with swift and decisive action from Government to deliver what has been promised – so that businesses start to see the benefits now and not two or three years down the line, when it may be too late.
“Rest assured, the Chamber will use every available opportunity in the year ahead to press this point home and is ready to respond positively to help implement these measures.”
Commenting on mixed fortunes for the business community in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire during 2012, Mr Greenaway said that while there had been growth – albeit at a slow pace – some sectors had fared much better than others, with some still finding the current trading climate extremely tough.
He said positives for the area over the past 12 months included the commencement of preparatory work on the long-overdue and much-needed widening of the A453, the go-ahead for electrification of the Midland Main Line and the expected announcement in the New Year regarding the arrival of High Speed Rail in the region.