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East Midlands Chamber News

A Christmas And New Year Message From DNCC President Ian Greenaway

DNCC President Ian GreenawayIan Greenaway, President of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce (DNCC), has called on Coalition Ministers to make business growth the absolute priority for 2013, following a year of mixed fortunes for the local economy.

In his Christmas and New Year message to business, Mr Greenaway said that although the Government has made some encouraging noises recently in both the Autumn Statement and in welcoming Lord Heseltine's review of UK competitiveness, it must now have the conviction to deliver against its promises.

He continued: “2012 has been a year of mixed fortunes for the business community here in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

“Whilst there has been growth – albeit at a slow pace – in the local economy over the last 12 months, some sectors have fared much better than others and for all of the opportunities that lie ahead in 2013 and beyond, some challenges remain and there are businesses out there that are still finding the current trading climate extremely tough.

“However, we should not dwell on the negatives and it is worth reminding ourselves of some of the good things that have happened across the patch over the last 12 months.

“The two counties are coterminous with the area covered by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, which played a key role in getting the Nottingham Enterprise Zone to market just a few weeks ago.

“Preparatory work is also underway on the long-overdue and much-needed widening of the A453, with the scheme due to start in earnest in Q1 2013. This key strategic link road has been the region’s top transport infrastructure priority for many years and has the potential to unlock economic benefits of as much as £540m for the East Midlands.

“Another important infrastructure scheme given the go-ahead in 2012 was the electrification of the Midland Main Line, which the Government has now included in its spending plans for 2014-19. And with more positive news expected in the New Year in the form of an announcement about High Speed Rail coming to the East Midlands, the region may finally be on the verge of getting a transport network that befits its reputation as a significant driver of the UK's economic growth.

“Of course, infrastructure is just one part of the puzzle to free up businesses to drive growth, create jobs, generate wealth, export and innovate.

“What we need to see is a well co-ordinated strategy across all departments of Government that puts business growth at the heart of its economic and overall agenda.

“The UK needs a strong, vibrant and healthy business sector to support the welfare bill and fund the public services we all want and need.

“Yet in many ways, our businesses aren't being given the freedom they need to grow because they are still throttled by red tape; often struggle to recruit young people with the skills they require; cannot easily access the levels of finance they need to invest and expand; and are unable to break into new markets across the globe because of the administrative barriers placed in front of them.

“The Government has recently made encouraging noises about a long-term industrial strategy, the creation of a new business bank and plans to roll back more rules, regulations and red tape that strangle so many businesses and stop them from investing, recruiting and growing.

“But we still need to see a lot more urgency from both Westminster and Whitehall. Ministers can talk the talk, but we've yet to see them deliver to the level necessary to make a major difference to business growth in the short term.

“We need to get the UK's economy running, not walking, or even worse standing still or going backwards, and that can only be achieved with swift and decisive action from Government to deliver what has been promised – so that businesses start to see the benefits now and not two or three years down the line, when it may be too late.

“Rest assured, the Chamber will use every available opportunity in the year ahead to press this point home and is ready to respond positively to help implement these measures.

“With that in mind, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2013.”