Prioritising business will reverse slowdown

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John Longworth
Business needs to be prioritised, says the BCC‘s John Longworth

The UK has “the talent and energy” to avoid being part of the “inevitable slowdown” in the Eurozone, but can only do this if it makes boosting business growth a priority, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) director general John Longworth.

“We are living in momentous times with slow but seismic shifts in the world economy,” he said. “A slowdown across the eurozone is inevitable, but Britain need not suffer a similar fate. We simply cannot afford to compromise on economic performance. Britain does have the potential to recover and make its way in the world. We have the talent, the energy, and the enterprise. All we need is an environment that puts business first. Boosting growth in our businesses will boost the economy and let Britain lead on the international stage.”

Longworth added: “In the face of economic concerns, and the debt crisis in Europe, businesses across Britain, large and small, are busting a gut to find new markets and grow their firms. That’s why we all have to recognise that business is a force for good. It is at the centre of the economy, and it is only business that can create recovery and deliver all the good things we want, like education, healthcare and pensions.”

Longworth said the chancellor is right to stick to plans to reduce the deficit but measures can be taken such as the reversal of the “punishing” 5.6% rise in business rates due in April 2012, and a reduction in employer NI contributions.

“We must build an enterprise culture in Britain and help people to employ themselves so that one day they will employ others. Politicians have shown a level of resolve and determination to help business succeed this year. However, they have been nowhere near radical enough and have not been able to tackle the culture which deems business and wealth creation as negative.”

Longworth concluded: “The government can restore UK business confidence. Facilitating the flow of credit to viable businesses, improving our planning system, and an overhaul of our infrastructure and skills system, will tackle the barriers to expansion too often cited by businesses.”