Adam Marshall: Westminster “cannot keep chasing rainbows”

Speaking at the BCC Annual Conference 2019, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), addressed the deep levels of frustration and anger among business communities across the country towards those in Westminster over the ongoing political turmoil.

In his keynote speech to the Conference at the QEII Centre in Westminster, Dr Marshall urged those in Westminster to chart a clear path forward, avoiding a messy and disorderly exit, and stem the ‘corrosive damage and dislocation of ongoing uncertainty.’

“To Westminster we say: We are frustrated. We are angry. You have let British business down. 

You have focused on soundbites, not substance. Tactics, not strategy. Politics, not prosperity. Listening without hearing. And as a result businesses and communities in every part of the UK are still unsure about when the future starts – let alone what it holds. 

Three years going round in circles.  Three years is long enough.

Too many critical questions remain unanswered. No one would run a business like this – and it is no way to run a country. It cannot be right that we leave in a way where government itself predicts there will be mass disruption to businesses and communities.

It cannot be right that some in Westminster shrug off the possibility of shortages that could affect the well-being and the jobs of many people. A messy and disorderly exit would not just be deeply irresponsible – it would be a flagrant dereliction of duty.”

“But we in business must make it clear that our elected representatives cannot keep chasing rainbows.

Like all of us in business, they need to start making tough decisions, however personally or politically difficult they might be.

Because all of us in business want to move on from this and get back to talking about creating the best possible environment for businesses to thrive, in every part of the United Kingdom.

We want to restore our hard-won international reputation as a great place to do business.

After all, it is business and trade that will ultimately restore confidence – both across the nations and regions of the UK and with our many partners around the world.

If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that business will lead the way in helping the UK rise to new challenges, seize new opportunities, and shape what comes next.

We have not, and we will not sit back and wait for others to create opportunity.”

The next chapter of our national story is about to be written.

It is a chapter that will be marked by the challenges of Brexit and global economic change.

It will be a tough period for many in business who will be forced to take difficult decisions due to factors far beyond their own control.

But it will also be a time when the dedication and passion of British business truly shines through.

The steely determination to be successful here at home and across the globe – no matter what.

Through it all, Chambers of Commerce will be there for business, looking ahead with confidence – and a fierce belief in what we can achieve together.”

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