Suffolk: British Chambers chief calls for Government action on infrastructure

GOVERNMENT needs to give businesses “the space and opportunity to thrive” as they lead the country out of recession, the head of British Chambers of Commerce said during a visit to Suffolk.

John Longworth, a scientist and former Asda executive who took over as director general of BCC at the end of last year, was guest speaker at Suffolk Chamber’s annual general meeting and also took part in round-table discussions with business leaders from across the county.

“It is clear that confidence is strong among businesses here in Suffolk,” he said. “That confidence has to be nurtured by the Government and as business leads the way out of recession it has to be given the space and opportunity to thrive.”

He said the challenges faced by the Suffolk economy reflected those of the UK as a whole. “There is no doubt that real and lasting investment in infrastructure is the key to future success,” said Mr Longworth. “Road, rail, aviation and digital are all pillars of a thriving economy and cannot be ignored any longer.”

Local and regional infrastructure issues raised by Suffolk Chamber members included broadband, the A14 and the Great Eastern.

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“I’m meeting with government on a regular basis and am continuing to ensure they hear the voice of business on these key issues. We will not let them off the hook,” said Mr Longworth.

He added: “There remains a great challenge that banks are struggling to lend to business. That is why we are lobbying hard for a Business Bank to be established.

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Other leading nations around the world have done this in the past with great success.”

Suffolk Chamber’s AGM, held at Fynn Valley Golf Club, saw Dr Peter Funnell re-elected to serve a further term as president.

The meeting was followed by a dinner at Ipswich Town Football Club, which included representatives from leading businesses including the Port of Felixstowe, EDF, BAA Stansted, Newmarket Racecourse, BT, Aspalls, Adnams and Musks.

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