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East Midlands Chamber News

Chesterfield firms voice their concerns to Westminster

A broad cross-section of Chesterfield business-leaders met with Toby Perkins MP last Friday to discuss a range of topical issues affecting the town and its aspirations against a backdrop of ongoing uncertainty.

Teaming up with Destination Chesterfield to deliver the event at Markham Vale, the Chamber is eager to demonstrate real-life scenarios that reveal the effect that the political impasse surrounding Brexit is having on business confidence.

The future of the town-centre was discussed, regarding the impact of online shopping on local retailers, and the need to promote Chesterfield as a ‘place’ that both investors and property owners will continue to find appealing.

It was felt that the town needs to capitalise on the opportunities that HS2 is bound to bring, although those present were quick to point-out the necessity of restarting the cancelled upgrading of the Midland Mainline’s electrification programme.

Firms drew Toby’s attention toward the need to relieve congestion on the A61, and the significance of superfast broadband connectivity leaving firms less-reliant on access to London.

There was criticism of the Government’s new Making Tax Digital legislation, which firms felt was hardly assisting businesses, and more akin to having them do the Government’s own job. The cost of buying - and getting familiar – with the new software was something that firms felt placed an unfair burden on them and their staff.

Chris Hobson, Director of Policy & External Affairs at the Chamber said: “These sessions are valuable ‘real-life’ business surgeries that enable our MPs to gain a genuine sense of sentiment from the firms they’re representing in Parliament.

Delegates made no secret of conveying the sense of urgency and ownership that MPs need to take in finding an acceptable compromise on Brexit, given that so many firms may end up having to change their very business model to stay afloat.”