Driving the economy

Commentary by Dr Adam Marshall, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)

The annual 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain book is a great opportunity to celebrate the innovation, diversity and dynamism of British business. I’m honoured to contribute, and I’m particularly pleased to see Chambers of Commerce members showcased again this year.

When it comes to great businesses, you need look no further than then membership of Accredited Chambers of Commerce. As I travel across the regions and nations of the UK, I get the chance to meet member companies that represent the best and brightest of our business communities.

Great people sit at the heart of every great business. The best businesses, like those recognised in this report, understand that their success relies on talent and skills. Nurturing this talent and investing in training, while creating inspiring working environments, encourages committed teams that drive a company forward.

People are the backbone of business success. Yet, across the country, business communities are reporting that labour shortages are really starting to bite. The Government, business and education sectors must work together to build a training system that allows people to reach their potential and produces a reliable pipeline of future talent. Firms also need a clear, easy-to-use and less-expensive immigration system to be able to plug gaps in the workforce when they can’t do so here at home.

People and skills are crucial to the UK’s future success and competitiveness, but so too are other elements of the domestic agenda, including the physical and digital infrastructure and cost of doing business, which must be addressed. For companies to flourish, conditions need to be in place in the domestic business environment to support their growth and ambition.

With Brexit dominating the headlines, it’s all too easy to forget about the issues at home that are of even greater importance to business. Get the fundamentals right, and we’ll sweep away barriers to growth and unlock the potential and competitiveness of UK firms in the years to come.

Over the past two years, the resilience and adaptability of UK companies has shone through in the midst of political uncertainty. As the UK enters a new chapter, we must support our business communities through a time of great adjustment, and encourage firms to grab hold of opportunities as they arise.

Chambers of Commerce across the country remain committed to fighting for the interests of business, and championing the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that drives the economy.