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How Does Beds Chamber Influence Government? Let’s Start with the Quarterly Economic Survey…

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 20 Feb 2024

There’s no denying it - the political and economic uncertainty of the past few years has contributed to challenging conditions for businesses, as multiple crises have converged.

One of the most important ways we bring these challenges to the attention of the policymakers in Government is through the Quarterly Economic Survey (QES).

This is the largest private sector survey of business sentiment, and is carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) through the participation of regional Chambers like Bedfordshire.

There are many other ways in which we get the ear of Westminster, too, and we explore some of these below, but first off, how do you complete the QES?

Be part of the QES (it only takes five minutes)

Firstly, it’s important to understand the QES is not an interrogation – it’s a quick, easy survey (just 20 questions) that should only take about five minutes to complete online.

No paper, no postage, and no need to dig into the depths of your business’s systems and file networks to find answers!

Submitting your responses for the forthcoming QES for Q1 2024 couldn’t be easier  - just click on this link.

Other ways we influence Government

But the QES is just one example of the instruments that we at the Chamber use to influence UK Government thinking and policy. Here are some others.

The Future of the Economy Inquiry

This initiative, launched at the BCC global annual conference last year, enabled the collective Chambers, through the BCC, to weigh in on critical business themes in advance of the Spring Budget.

By proposing plans to increase construction to support business growth, develop a consistent, long-term skills plan, devise a fairer tax system, and reverse the damaging decision to discontinue UK tax-free shopping, the inquiry has enabled us both to confront Government with the consequences of its actions and demonstrate a way forward.

Strengthening connections to Government

The essence of effective lobbying is connection to the decision-makers who matter, and September 2023 saw the creation of our Business Council to further this objective.

The connections came thick and fast. The first meeting was joined by The Rt Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, and Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The second, held in December, was attended by the Rt Hon Mel Stride MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Liz Kendall MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Not just lobbying, but winning

But as ever in business, whilst effort is to be applauded, it’s the outcome that counts – and here, too, our lobbying has left its mark.

Recently policy wins include, amongst others:

  • An adjustment costs fund to benefit firms involved in Windsor Framework compliance.
  • Instrumenting a European Commission proposal to extend the application of current rules of origin on electric vehicles until January 2027, favouring the UK’s EV industry.
  • Full expensing made permanent, enabling many firms to significantly reduce their tax liability.
  • UK Government agreement to create a more beneficial UK Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism to apply from 2027.

Optimism afoot – but the QES remains critical

And despite the challenges many businesses are facing, the latest QES reports that business confidence improved in Q4 last year.

But no business can rest on its laurels, and so it’s critical that you help us bring your voice within earshot of those in Government who are paid to listen.

Complete the QES today.

For more information on how we influence the Government’s agenda to benefit businesses like yours, or to become a Chamber member if you’re not one already, just call our friendly team on 01582 522448. 

Topics: QES

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