In the midst of party conference season, the British Chambers of Commerce has challenged the two leading UK political parties to put a stop to Westminster in-fighting and point-scoring – and prioritise action in the national interest in the face of Brexit uncertainty and slowing economic growth.

The call from the leading business group – which represents 75,000 companies employing nearly six million people in all regions and nations of the UK – reflects the frustration of business communities with Westminster party politics. Businesses want to see both constructive solutions to the challenges posed by Brexit, and attention focused on improving the business environment now and for the future.

At Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, the BCC will:

  • Call for Labour to focus on answers for business and the economy rather than party political considerations in handling Brexit
  • Highlight the potential damage to the UK’s global competitiveness of a high-tax, high-cost business environment.

Challenge proposals for sweeping nationalisation and the imposition of governance changes on many boards which could stifle business confidence, investment and growth

At Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, BCC will:

  • Call for the party of government to overcome its internal divisions to deliver real-world, practical answers to business’s ongoing questions around Brexit – and avoid a messy and disorderly exit from the EU
  • Challenge Conservative ministers to act quickly on business-critical issues within the UK’s own control – starting with moves to steady the faltering apprenticeship system and clarity on future immigration rules
  • Demand a Budget that delivers significant incentives to support business investment and confidence as the UK navigates Brexit.

BCC’s leadership – together with representatives from Chamber business communities around the UK – will be demanding commitments from both main parties to ‘fix the fundamentals’ here at home to underpin future competitiveness, productivity and prosperity.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Westminster has spent far too much time distracted by in-fighting and internal division at a crucial time when business expects our political leaders to act in the national interest.

“Our business communities are facing the biggest economic change in a generation – and the two natural parties of government should be straining every sinew to support the economy through Brexit and setting out what they will do to help business make the UK more productive, competitive and prosperous.

“Businesses across the country tell us they are astonished and dismayed by the current state of Westminster politics. I cannot remember a time when firms have expressed such deep concerns with both government and opposition alike. It’s well past time for politicians to start putting the economy, jobs, investment and prosperity first.”

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