The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned British political parties that the UK’s home-grown political problems are the biggest negatives for 2015, cited by companies. The BCC urged politicians to rise from their point-scoring, tawdry political tactics which destroy business confidence.
In an open letter to Westminster, BCC director general John Longworth wrote:
“For many businesses, both small and large, one of the greatest sources of challenge and uncertainty in 2015 isn’t the state of global markets, but home-grown politics.”
Mr. Longworth said politicians need to stop racing between television studios to rubbish their rivals’ policy statements or to claim to be more in touch with their people, and get on with the more serious business of spelling out their long-term plans.
“You must focus on the causes, not the symptoms, of the challenges that face our United Kingdom,” Mr. Longworth said.
The letter, addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister and Lib/Dem leader Nick Clegg, and opposition party Labour leader Ed Miliband, as well as leaders of all the other parties, urged them to focus on policies and getting things done.
The BCC wants lawmakers to support British companies that are “brave enough to sell products and services across the world.” Mr. Longworth added that companies need help with training opportunities while younger and older workers need new jobs.
On behalf of British businesses, the BCC says political parties must set out their long-term policies on public spending, education and taxation to give companies the confidence to invest, take risks in export markets, and hire new employees.
Mr. Longworth urged politicians to keep corporation tax at 20%.
EU membership uncertainty
UK Business confidence is significantly undermined by the 2017 referendum regarding the country’s EU membership. The Conservatives, facing a loss of votes to the anti-EU UKIP party, have raised the possibility that Britain might withdraw from the EU if immigration laws are not reformed.
Business leaders say the parties have failed to explain the economic advantages of staying in Europe.
A CBI study published in 2013 found that EU membership is worth 4% to 5% of UK’s GDP.