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.

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. They are a reminder of the quality, innovation, commitment and entrepreneurial spirit that drive our business communities.

There’s no denying it has been a challenging year for many UK businesses, in the light of ongoing political uncertainty and the extent Chambers of Commerce understand to which firms are in the dark about better than anyone the importance future conditions. But, as this report makes clear, companies from every part of the UK, and of every size and sector, continue to demonstrate their adaptability, resilience and people and markets locally, nationally determination to grow.

Our companies need the best possible conditions here at home to keep up the momentum.

Brexit has become a vacuum for so much of Westminster’s energy and attention, to the detriment of the many important domestic issues that urgently need attention.

We must fix the fundamentals here at home to allow all our firms to prosper.

It all starts with people, who are at the heart of every business’s success. Yet labour shortages are now at critical levels. It’s up to firms to find new ways to unlock local talent, including re-thinking the way that they work and hire.

It is up to government to deliver an education and skills system that is fit for purpose, as well as a low cost and flexible immigration system that facilitates recruitment at all skills levels when local shortages exist.

Chambers of Commerce understand better than anyone the importance of place, and they work to make local business communities the best they can be. Central to this is connectivity - ensuring that firms can connect with people and markets locally, nationally and globally. Improving the UK's physical and digital infrasctructure will boost productivity and unlock barriers to growth.

Finally, we need to encourage far more of our businesses to take advantage of opportunities around the world. Greater practical, local support for firms looking for new clients and markets would open doors to more international trade.

While the UK’s political future remains unclear, there is no doubt about the ambition and passion of our businesses.

Chambers of Commerce stand ready to help firms through this time of transition and will continue to champion their interests at every level.