Our Campaign for Business has created a huge amount of interest and reaction since its launch in the middle of September. As well as making sure as many businesses as possible have seen the Campaign and encouraged their continued input and engagement we have also made sure that local and national politicians are aware of just what it is that business want from the next government.
Up to now we have been quite generalist in our approach, just making sure that people are aware of the Campaign. However all that will start to change next month as we look at one of the 5 themes in more detail. The first monthly campaign we will be running will be on Infrastructure – one of the largest elements in the Campaign but also one that prompts a tremendous amount of debate and comment from business.
There are some obvious givens in this around wanting better transport, broadband and energy supplies but what is often overlooked is the background “stuff” that goes with this which plays as equally an important part as getting holes dug in the ground (and, hopefully, filled in again!).
Infrastructure investment is one of the areas that fits very neatly with the calls for greater localism and decision making away from Whitehall. Our members have been quite firm in their belief that having “proper” control over the local road network will help with this; having a greater say in public transport services especially the rail network will also be beneficial and having the chance to match up local needs and demand in poorly serviced areas with effective solutions will start to unbundle years of paralysis and neglect.
In theory this should work and it will be very interesting to see who picks this up first as a potential vote winner. Whilst the headlines may have diminished around English MPs for English votes what we need goes beyond this and falls into a brand of activity that has business setting the tempo and influencing where the money goes. If this is backed up and supported by the political element to fight whatever fight is needed with Westminster, this not only starts to put the world back into some sort of order but, more importantly, it allows businesses to influence effectively for the benefit of all.
So, that’s the process sorted but what is it that we should be asking for? The Deputy Prime Minister recently launched the Future North project which involves people uploading their ideas for ways to change the north primarily through radical ideas on infrastructure. The sort of stuff that makes HS2, or HS3 look under-ambitious. So, as we approach November and the big Infrastructure focus I’d like to hear from you about your big idea. We’ll be collating these and joining with other Northern Chambers in sending these to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn statement in December.
Let me know your big idea in the comments section below or drop me an e-mail. We’ll publish the best on our website and if you need a reminder about what it is that we are campaigning for visit our Infrastructure page.