So here we are, 2015 at last and just 4 months to the General Election.
We are about equidistant from the launch of our Campaign for Business as to Election day itself and things, I think it’s safe to say, are about to get really interesting and possibly a little fractious.
Looking back to our initial campaign themes and set against some dramatic policy announcements at the end of 2014, it would be easy to say that there’s been some positive steps taken already.
Take the whole Northern Powerhouse/Devolution issue.
Whilst no-one would argue against getting more local powers and control away from Whitehall – a core “ask” from business that sits at the heart of our Campaign – there are untold issues still to be decided on and agreed, especially as to what role business have in this process. It could be argued that without real local taxation – including locally controlled business rates – any form of decentralized decision making is and always will be unfulfilled potential. That would be a criminal waste and a huge chance gone begging. There are plenty other similar issues.
So as we enter the run-in to May its important that we step up and work doubly hard in making sure that what is already on the table gets delivered effectively as well as making sure that whichever party, or more likely parties, form the next government they understand and react to what businesses have made clear they want.
Over the next few months we will continue to focus on our campaign themes at a national level as well as keep a watching eye on local issues that will impact on us here in Greater Manchester irrespective of who is sat in Number 10.
We will increase our contact with you around specific campaigns – skills later this month, trade next month and more on devolution in March. Starting this month we’ll be digging deep into what a mayor will mean for Greater Manchester, how it will work as well as what role the business community will and should have in deciding the city region’s future. And as we get nearer to May we’ll be increasing our contact with political leaders allowing you direct access to the people that may make a difference to you come May and beyond.
Stick with us as we make the points that need making, say the things that need saying and ensuring your interests and views are represented and taken care of. But most of all get involved - we cant do any of the above without you.