Dr Adam Marshall

Expert commentary by Dr Adam Marshall, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

This report is always a welcome opportunity to celebrate some of the most inspiring businesses across the UK. It has arguably never been more important to recognise and support the innovation that drives successful British firms.
I have the privilege of meeting many of these businesses in my role, as so many are members of Chambers of Commerce across the UK, and around the world.

This is a time of challenge and change for business communities. As the UK forges new relationships with trading partners in Europe and across the world, many firms are now considering how they will need to adjust their day-to-day operations.

This year, businesses are also facing the unexpected challenge posed by the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on the global economy. This will create additional pressures and costs for many businesses, and the pressure will be acute for some small and medium-sized firms.
But, as this report makes clear, companies operating in all sectors across the UK continue to demonstrate the resilience and dynamism needed to prosper.

For this to continue, UK business communities need the best possible conditions here at home to grow and thrive.

We have a historic opportunity to recast the UK business environment, allowing firms to seize opportunities in new markets and create wealth and prosperity across the UK. Disruption for some will mean opportunity for others – particularly the amazing British innovators and entrepreneurs highlighted in this report.

While many of the solutions to the big challenges we face will come straight from our can-do business communities, the UK Government must also play a supporting role.

The upfront costs of doing business in the UK remain too high and continue to stifle investment and innovation. Firms are hit with thousands of pounds before turning over a single pound of profit. Over the coming year, we must reduce these creeping disincentives to investment and unlock growth.

Businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit, retain and develop people. We need a skills system that puts technical and vocational training on a par with academic study, helping firms to access talent wherever they’re based – both at home and abroad. We must invest in a physical and digital infrastructure network that is fit for the 21st century, connecting businesses to customers, supply chains and labour markets.

And we need to be leading the battle to contain climate change. Business and government need to work as partners in a redoubled effort to increase efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, while ensuring that businesses can still prosper.

While there is significant change ahead, there is no doubt that future prosperity depends on the success of innovative British business.
Chambers of Commerce stand ready to help firms through this time of change – and champion their interests at every level.