Hampshire Chamber calls on PM to prioritise business confidence

David Joel, President of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

Responding to the General Election result, David Joel, President of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“We congratulate all Members of Parliament elected to represent Hampshire and wish them well in their work ahead. We offer our commiserations to those who ran but didn’t get elected. Likewise we congratulate the Prime Minister on his victory nationally. His top priorities must now involve restoring business confidence.

“We call on Boris Johnson not to take business for granted. It is essential that he acts to help the business community and avoid burdening us with new costs and taxes that will stifle growth, enterprise and investment. In fact, we need targeted tax breaks to help businesses, particularly smaller companies, invest and adapt to the uncertain trading conditions we are seeing. We call on the new administration to be business-friendly.

“There is a need for more substantial measures to boost growth, enterprise and investment, after the most recent Office for National Statistics growth report highlighted stagnation in the past quarter. Service sector growth is flatlining, manufacturing is in decline again, and the economy failed to grow at all between August and October.

“On Brexit, there are potentially many opportunities to be grasped but we must avoid a messy, disorderly withdrawal. It’s not about ‘getting Brexit done’ at any cost; it’s about doing it right. The details matter for business activity. We need to avoid a damaging cliff edge at the end of 2020 and be positive in embracing the opportunities that the future holds.

“Infrastructure investment is another key priority. We must ensure the major economies of the Solent and across all parts of Hampshire have the transport connections, digital infrastructure and business space they need to be competitive.

“The government must also, at long last, reform business rates. This remains an iniquitous tax that takes no account of profitability and is well overdue for reform.”