BCC chief urges leaders to work together

John Longworth: Focus should be on long-term stability. Picture: Contributed
John Longworth: Focus should be on long-term stability. Picture: Contributed
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THE HEAD of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) today urged political leaders to put aside “tawdry tactics and point-scoring” and work together for the benefit of the economy.

In an open letter to politicians including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister David Cameron, BCC director-general John Longworth also said the body wants “a UK with more devolved decision-making, but without artificial new barriers to business and trade”.

Longworth wrote: “For many businesses, both small and large, one of the greatest sources of challenge and uncertainty in 2015 isn’t the state of global markets, but home-grown UK politics.

“The General Election that you are now preparing to fight isn’t just the most wide-open contest in decades. It is also generating huge nervousness among British businesses, as politicians race… to undercut their rivals’ policy announcements.”

He added: “As the leaders of the UK’s largest political parties, we call on you to act responsibly in the forthcoming campaign, putting the UK’s long-term success over tawdry political tactics and point-scoring.

“You must focus on the causes, not the symptoms, of the challenges that face our United Kingdom – a focus that has been sorely lacking in political discourse in recent months.”

Longworth said the BCC wants to see public spending based on long-term stability, “not short-term giveaways and gimmicks”, and argued that efforts to reduce “crushing” input taxes while maintaining corporation tax at 20 per cent would be a “sound beginning”.

Improving the career prospects of young people would help to ease the burden on “worried firms”, Longworth argued, adding that he wanted to hear how politicians would help to boost UK exports.

He continued: “Most of all, the General Election campaign must maintain a relentless focus on policies that deliver prosperity. As businesspeople and voters, we will judge you – the leaders of our political class – on what you help us to achieve.”

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