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The British Chambers of Commerce Global Annual Conference: Getting Bedfordshire Businesses Heard in Westminster

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 01 Jun 2023

As a member of Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, your voice, input, and influence don’t stop at the county’s borders. As part of the wider British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), we represent your interests to policymakers, politicians, industry peers, and the media, at a national level.

Indeed, at the recent BCC Global Annual Conference on 17th May, we engaged with business leaders from across the UK to ensure our county’s businesses had a voice in high-level discussions on a critical but optimistic theme: how to deliver opportunities for business growth in a volatile and challenging economy.

Here’s just some of what went on – and how you can get involved next year.

Serious speakers, expert insights

One of the benefits of the Conferences is the high calibre of speakers who attend, and this year was no exception.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, delivered an honest and detailed exploration of the many challenges facing local businesses in the UK at present, from strained global supply chains, to the economic shockwaves of the war in Ukraine, to labour shortages and rising inflation.

But notably, he also emphasised that some of these pressures have already eased, and others are expected to reverse in the near future – particularly inflation, which he is clearly determined to tame.

The Director General of the BCC, Shaun Haviland, for her part, took a bold line in her keynote speech, urging the Government to “reconnect with business, as firms see no progress on the barriers to growth” and to “put business at the heart of its plans to revive the UK.” Three urgent growth themes came in for special attention in her speech: the digital revolution, global Britain, and green innovation.

Breakout sessions: tackling issues and opportunities 

The event also featured contributions from the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, Sir Keir Starmer MP, and current affairs broadcaster and columnist Ayesha Hazarika MBE, and there was no shortage of entrepreneurial insight either, from co-founder Baroness Martha Lane Fox CBE, and businesswoman and author Linzi Boyd.

However, the Conference is as much about dialogue and discussion as it is about speeches, and this year’s breakout sessions brought together Chamber members from Bedfordshire and other regions, as well as our own CEO Justin Richardson, to explore issues and opportunities across four key areas aligned to those in the Director General’s keynote: trade, economic growth, green innovation, and skills.

Feedback is that the discussions were highly effective, with Justin Richardson commenting that they highlighted “new ways forward and emerging options to support business growth, and a continuing willingness for Chambers to work together to share and maximise expertise, insight, and best practice.”

Attend the Conference next year

To attend the Conference in 2024, you can join Bedfordshire Chamber and we’ll handle all the necessary communication with you about registering for and attending the event, as we do for all our current members.

This national voice that we give to local businesses is one more reason to consider joining our Chamber, alongside the many other benefits that we offer: business networking events both through the Chamber and its partners, Meet the Buyer sessions, webinars and training, online resources, help with export procedures and documentation, and much else besides.

Policy may happen in Westminster – but it’s steered by people like you who we enable to speak up and give it direction.

For more information on how to join Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, visit, or call 01582 522448.




Topics: British Chambers of Commerce, Global Annual Conference

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