Greater Manchester Chamber Council

Greater Manchester Chamber Council Meeting 7th Feb 2014

The latest Chamber Council meeting took place on 7th February when over 30 council members met at Emirates Old Trafford to discuss a number of issues ranging from energy markets to the British Business Bank.

The meeting saw the first use interactive voting pads so that members could vote on the key issues and help form clear opinions as well as prompt healthy discussions.

Running out of Energy?

The energy discussion broke down to three key areas - price, supply and future energy strategy. Just over half of members voted that future strategy was the biggest issue facing the UK energy market with 2/3 saying that the current market was too complex to fully understand. When asked about immediate action as regards prices there was a mix of answers but interestingly no one voted for a price freeze.

As regards fracking just under half the members said that they would like more information on this to make any decision as to its future use as a new energy source.

Overwhelmingly members asked that the Chamber focus its campaigning activity on the UK's future energy strategy including not only energy sources but also the slow speed on investment and delivery of new infrastructure.

Business Banks - No Thanks?

Following a discussion on the SME loan market and the outline proposals of the British Business Bank announced in September 2013 by Vince Cable, members concluded after a series of votes that the Bank would not add anything new to the market and would, if anything, add extra complexity.

Scotland the Brave?

Other issues discussed were the impact of a "yes" vote in the Scottish referendum - 80% said they thought there would be a vote for no independence however if it was a yes vote a small majority of members present felt that the likely impact would be damage to the UK's economic recovery.

The final question focussed on priorities for the Chancellor in the upcoming Budget with just under half saying they felt that infrastructure investment was the most important issue.

The Chamber will be working on these issues going forward and developing other work and campaigns to engage with members and the wider business community.

The next Council meeting is on 2nd May if you are a Chamber member and would like to attend please let me know.

In the meantime if you've got anything to add to the above issues or have something that you want to say drop me a line.

Chris Fletcher Director of Policy & Communications

About The Council

The Greater Manchester Chamber Council is the main policy discussion and decision-making body for the Chamber and consists of representatives from member businesses. Its aims are to:

  • Guide the formulation of Chamber policy positions and advise on the prioritisation of members’ issues, in line with the Chamber’s ‘Action For Business’ core themes;
  • Act as a central focus point for information about issues affecting business,
  • Provide a source of influence and support to further the objectives, reputation and success of the Chamber.

To help with this important element of Chamber work and to make sure that issues are dealt with in the right way, the Chamber's Policy & Campaign Committee (PCC) meets ahead of Council to assess and filter the key issues being raised by members. The PCC also takes a look at issues that are, at present, "over the horizon" but may have a significant impact.

The PCC produces reports, briefs and data to inform Council members ahead of the quarterly meetings. This information will also be published externally.

All of the Chamber’s member-led Councils and Committees have at least one representative on Council to ensure that relevant issues are fed into the group and that any issues raised are tasked to the most appropriate member forum for further action. A number of other individuals also sit on the Chamber Council, representing various organisations and groups.

Meetings are held quarterly and are chaired by the Chamber President, Phil Cusack.

Director of Policy and Communications, Chris Fletcher, is the executive lead for the Chamber Council and is responsible for all activity resulting from Council meetings.

The Council is also responsible for appointing the nominated members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.