Declan’s Blog: Chambers’ Business Manifesto launch

Last week saw the launch of our Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Business Manifesto

It’s not long to go until the 2024 General Election and time for us to outline our commitments as a Chamber and what we’re asking from partners and stakeholders.

Our Manifesto has identified the five key themes of:

  • Connected Staffordshire
  • Digital Staffordshire
  • Global Staffordshire
  • Green Staffordshire
  • Skilled Staffordshire

Under each theme, we have identified a number of commitments for us to achieve and a number of commitments that we’ll be asking from partners and stakeholders.

As the voice of the business community in Staffordshire, our Manifesto has identified the key challenges facing our business community and the steps which need to be taken if we are to address these challenges and grow our local economy.

Connected Staffordshire – Focuses on the exceptional connectivity of our county.  With four major airports within an hour’s drive of Staffordshire and an estimated 40% of the UK population within a 2-hour drive, it’s easy to see why a growing number of businesses are based here.   

Transport is a key enabler for business, moving both people and goods.  Greater effort is needed to remove congestion from our local roads and town centres.  Public transport needs to be more accessible, reliable and affordable if more of us are to travel to and from work by bus and train. 

We need to see improved planning processes, coupled with accessible procurement opportunities for all, to support local investment in infrastructure and commercial premises.  A diverse range of commercial premises will hold appeal to all sectors and sizes of business. 

Digital Staffordshire – We look at the evolving landscape of digital technology, which continues to influence the way businesses operate.  A sizeable segment of our population is still grappling with digital poverty. Cyber-attacks pose a tangible threat to the business community and end users.  A significant number of businesses remain unaware of the potentially devastating repercussions of such attacks.  Larger businesses may have some understanding of how to make their best use of new technologies whilst many SME can struggle to deliver real benefits from the available technologies.

Global Staffordshire – Includes a call for our local businesses to explore, collaborate and trade, embracing global opportunities.  We see that global trading continues to face volatility, with post-pandemic, post-Brexit headwinds and supply chain disruption.  Ongoing global conflicts add to the uncertainty faced by our exporters.  Our county has exceptional connectivity to other parts of the UK but more of our local businesses need to seize the opportunities afforded by exporting goods and services overseas, to develop a truly Global Staffordshire.

Green Staffordshire – Looks at the need to educate, adopt and unleash, if our local businesses are to embrace net zero aspirations.  Climate change is now being seen at both a global and local level.  Sustainability has become central to the agendas of all organisations.  Businesses are increasingly acknowledging the significance of taking action at a local level, aligning with the global objective of mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. There are multiple sources of advice and information but too much information can be confusing and misleading.  We want to promote energy efficiency sustainability and a circular economy, curating good practise and showcasing how businesses can play their part.

Skilled Staffordshire – With a need to recruit, upskill and retain our employees.  Challenges remain with recruitment, retention and a tight labour market, especially in sectors such as manufacturing and hospitality.  A more flexible workplace, ongoing training and upskilling can make businesses more accessible to a broader talent pool and help prevent people from leaving the workforce unnecessarily.

You’re invited to read our Business Manifesto by clicking the link:

A copy of the Business Manifesto has been sent to all local Parliamentary candidates ahead of the 2024 General Election and also to political leaders across the county. 

On the topic of the General Election, we’re holding a Hustings event at our Commerce House office (ST1 5BE), on Friday 28th June at 9AM.  All Parliamentary candidates for the Stoke-on-Trent Central constituency have been invited to meet with the local business community.  Advanced bookings are essential and if you wish to attend, please click on the link to book your place:

Hustings – Meet your Parliamentary Candidates – Stoke-on-Trent Central – Staffordshire Chambers