Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the findings of a review into stimulating UK growth by Lord Heseltine. Lord Heseltine conducted a wide ranging review of activities and recommended increased use of the capacity, skills and experience of Chambers of Commerce.Commenting on the report, Cheryl Smart MBE, Chief Executive of Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce said:
‘Half of the review’s 89 recommendations would be consistent with British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Chamber Network positions – e.g. a greater national focus on growth policies, infrastructure delivery, skills, etc.
‘Lord Heseltine rightly recognises the power of the Chamber brand, as one with staying power (the movement dates from the 1760’s), one that is rooted in communities and is locally led, and with a unique international status. We support the move of both Lord Heseltine, and Lord Green, to utilise the brand more fully in helping UK exporters and businesses, with support provided by Chambers of Commerce in both the UK and overseas.’
In his report, Lord Heseltine recommends that Chambers have enhanced legal status and basic statutory economic development functions, whilst retaining their independence from Government.
‘We’ve always argued that Chambers must remain independent as they are business-led entities’ says Cheryl Smart ‘Businesses trust Chambers in a way that Government can never achieve. It is positive that Lord Heseltine has recognised this in his report. Regarding his proposals on taking on statutory duties, we will be seeking greater legal clarity on the merits or otherwise of this.’
‘We believe that Chambers can play an active and constructive role in stimulating UK growth , not just for today’s businesses but for future entrepreneurs via our established links with young people and schools and through taking a lead on creating a vision for a skills and education system that better serves local economic needs.’
Bedfordshire Chamber will be engaging with key stakeholders in the next few months to explore their views on the report.