Reacting to the publication of Labour’s small business plan, Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“We were pleased to welcome the Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds to Essex this morning to launch this important plan with Chamber members.
“Our network of 53 accredited chambers represents tens of thousands of small businesses across the country. As the BCC, we work constructively with all political parties to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business.
“Companies are facing tough trading conditions. Our latest Quarterly Economic Survey revealed only 23% of firms had increased investment over the past few months.
“It is good to see a growing political consensus that planning reform and improved access to the grid are fundamental to the future of local economies.
“We welcome Labour’s recommitment to reforming business rates. The current system isn’t responsive to changes in the economic or business cycle. Our members will be looking closely at alternative proposals from Labour, and whether they will truly incentivise growth and investment.
“Many of the small businesses we represent trade around the world, and it is encouraging to see the focus on boosting small business exports.
“We look forward to seeing more details of how Labour plans to revitalise high streets. The focus on tackling crime is welcome, but changing the face of the UK’s high-streets is a multi-faceted problem.
“As small firms continue to face skills shortages, we continue to call for all parties to commit to Local Skills Improvement Plans for the long-term. Chamber led LSIPs are already proving successful in matching business needs and local training.”
Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chamber of Commerce said:
“As the voice of business in Essex, we always take pride in hosting important events like today. With a general election looming next year businesses across our county want to know what politicians of all parties will do for them.
“It was great to talk to the Shadow Business Secretary about crucial issues like business rates and planning. Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities here in Essex, and they need opportunities to grow and thrive.”