CAMPAIGN FOR BUSINESS 2024 - BUSINESS CONDITIONS

Date: 30/01/2024
Author: Emma Holt, President of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
Company: Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber is working on putting together key asks ahead of the May GM Mayoral Election and a possible General Election which may be called later this year. In previous weeks we have looked at Connectivity, Skills, Trade and Net Zero. This week we turn our attention to Business Conditions. How can we create the best environment for businesses to grow and expand that will also benefit local people and their communities?

Set against a backdrop of seemingly never-ending economic challenges and a host of other issues identified in our preceding issue papers many businesses face a range of obstacles that were not there just 4 or 5 years ago.

The pandemic and its impact continue to affect businesses either through new working models with the rise of working from home and reduced hours to the ongoing economic impact wrought by Covid and a series of economic shocks brought on by conflict overseas, global trading conditions and domestic political instability.

Whilst for many the above has made running a business harder and the resultant impact on the cost of living and employment opportunities it has also created opportunities and offers a chance to take action to resolve these issues and ensure that the Greater Manchester growth story continues.

The city has always been a place that ‘does things differently’ and businesses here are no different with a history of community involvement and searching out new ways to innovate and wherever possible make life better for the city region’s residents.

The real living wage and Good Employment Charter are just two examples of that endeavour. But to enable these to be brought into action by more businesses other conditions must be right. Fair, local taxes spent locally will always be more welcome than money hoovered up and spent by the Treasury on any one of several projects.

Greater Manchester under the Trailblazer Devolution Deal has the best opportunity ever to set its stall out with local control over how it spends its money through a revolutionary single settlement pot of money that will be devolved to the city region in April 2025 and over which GM will have spending control. In theory this means no more begging bowls in Whitehall for funds but it will mean greater local scrutiny to maximise every penny.

This offers that chance to be wide ranging in our thoughts for what this could mean for businesses in GM that will play a central role in this new system. It needs good financial control, it will allow new approaches to how we do things but most of all it needs a sensible, stable environment so that businesses can focus on action and their role in making the Greater Manchester economy grow.

Below we have listed a number of solutions that have been identified by businesses and from other sources.  These will form the content of our Campaign for Business 2024 document which we will use for the GM Mayoral Election and the General Election when this is confirmed.

The Spring Budget is due on March 6th and as is expected this will be the budget that the General Election will be fought on. For that reason, we have held back on specific economic ‘asks’ at this stage and will update this as required following the Budget.

However as this is a complex and rapidly evolving area of work if there is something missing that you want to see in this or you want to get more involved with this work drop me a line at: chris.fletcher@gmchamber.co.uk

INITIAL ASKS

LOCAL

Use the opportunities within GM to make use of unique funding mechanisms such as retained business rates to maximise financial support for businesses and help develop key future growth sectors.

Ensure that there is no duplication or market distortion with funding designated for business support and workforce development.

Develop a genuine ‘local first’ approach to investment, planning and development that immediately signifies greater clarity around local decision making brought by the Devolution Deal.

Continue to promote the Good Employment Charter.

Ensure that Social Enterprises are included as an equivalent to other types of business.

NATIONAL

Government to streamline and ensure that the impact of different taxation and other financial requirements on businesses are understood and changes are better co-ordinated.

MORE DETAILS OF OUR CAMPAIGN FOR BUSINESS 2024 ACTIVITY CAN BE FOUND AT https://www.gmchamber.co.uk/campaigns/campaign-for-business-2024/

We will be discussing these and other issues at our Winter Assembly on 9th February book your place at: https://www.gmchamber.co.uk/events/gmcc-winter-assembly-2024/