General election 2017: Business leaders call for certainty in the wake of the election result

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce - Credit: Archant

Business leaders in Suffolk and Essex say the uncertainty caused by the hung parliament delivered by Thursday’s General Election could harm businesses in the short term but there are some hopes the new political landscape may ultimately result in a Brexit outcome that is beneficial to the business community.

Chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce John Dugmore said: “The outcome of the general election with this split decision amongst the electorate will generate further uncertainty for business communities. Therefore what Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s members are now looking for is mature leadership across the political spectrum that seeks to avoid unnecessary uncertainty and confusion.

“Whether on the manner and type of Brexit we follow or on the need for investment in our infrastructure and skills base, businesses will be looking for certainty and clarity of purpose sooner rather than later.”

Following a tumultuous night of political surprises, the Conservatives emerged as the largest party with 319 seats but failed to gain an overall majority needed to form a government. A resurgent Labour secured 261 seats.

Chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, Denise Rossiter, also focussed on the need for stability.

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She said: “Although the Prime Minister has entered into an agreement with the DUP to create a government it remains to be seen how this will work in practice and will not answer the questions about certainty for the future that businesses raise.”

However, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the Institute of Directors, Graham Kill, struck a more optimistic note, especially in relation to the implications for Brexit.

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He said: “The type of Brexit we might get is likely to move more to the softer end of the spectrum, which I believe is more to the liking of business.

“Brexit is likely to be more open on immigration, which is good news because we rely on foreign workers in our businesses, particularly agriculture, and hospitality and tourism.

He added: “It is also more likely to more towards continuing free access to the EU markets, which given our ports and exporting businesses will be welcomed by the business community of Suffolk.”

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