BCC calls for pro-growth agenda to improve UK economy
The director general of the BCC outlined a plan to boost the economy for the British government.
Britain is poised to see long-term sustainable growth if the UK government makes the right decisions, according to John Longworth, the director general of the British Chamber of Commerce. In fact, the business energy and optimism that we are currently experiencing could build a “great future”.
“We have rarely been better placed to have great, long-term sustainable growth,” Mr Longworth told the BCC annual conference.
The number of businesses being created in the UK is hitting record levels and providing an impressive number of new jobs. These figures, coupled with the burgeoning economic recovery in the UK, have all the right ingredients for future prosperity. However, there are still a few issues that Mr Longworth pointed out would have to be addressed.
Improving access to finance for businesses should be the primary priority, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, say the BCC.
Data backs up these claims as corporate net lending declined last year, as businesses repaid more than they borrowed. New regulations have forced banks to hold more capital as collateral and, despite support from the government, banks haven’t been able to increase corporate lending while complying with the rules.
“Our inadequate system of business finance stands in the way of a truly great economy,” said Mr Longworth.
Failure to invest and revamp Britain’s ageing infrastructure is “hampering business growth and costing jobs”. The comments are aimed at road and rail networks, but also include airport capacity.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, said: “Lack of capacity at Heathrow is holding back business and we urgently need to expand.”
It's especially necessary if the UK wishes to export more.
To increase future trade, the next generation of business leaders need to be well versed in cultures and languages from abroad. It’s this aim that has the BCC calling for foreign languages to be compulsory in schools from the age of seven to 16.
Furthermore, if the UK wishes to see speedy growth in trade, the visa system should be reformed and passport applications could be fast-tracked for British exporters.
In order to boost business competitiveness, investment and jobs, the BCC detailed ways in which Britain’s tax system could be simplified.
A freeze on business rates until 2017 could also help support growth in the sector.