Sara’s Blog: Join us at our Big Economic Conference and news of a national framework for business

Sara Williams

I am delighted to announce that we will be holding our first Big Economic Conference on 22nd November.

I am hoping that you will join us will join us at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Festival Park to hear from a panel of guest speakers about the latest economic developments and a valuable forecast of what businesses can expect in 2024.

This is a unique event that will give your business the knowledge needed to thrive in today’s ever-changing economy, while forging new partnerships and collaborations that can open up new avenues for growth and expansion.

We have lined up two brilliant guest speakers will be joining us on the day:

Vicky Pryce is Chief Economic Adviser at CEBR and former Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, bringing extensive experience from senior economic roles in various sectors including banking and oil. Vicky is an influential author with a diverse range of publications, including her latest co-authored book, “How to be a Successful Economist,” published by Oxford University Press.

Thomas Pugh is RSM’s UK economist analysing key economic events and assessing the effect that they have on middle-market businesses in an accessible way. Regularly quoted and interviewed by the UK’s financial media, Thomas presents his thoughts and insights on the UK economy to businesses and conferences around the country and internationally.

Gain fresh perspectives from renowned speakers and experts, offering you a broader outlook on economic opportunities and challenges.

Book your space here: Staffordshire Chambers launch Big Economic Conference 2023 with Vicky Pryce & Thomas Pugh – Staffordshire Chambers

A business framework for the future

The economy thrives when business and politicians work in partnership and this week the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have set out how to unlock the power of British business and get the economic growth which benefits everyone.

The BCC is calling for urgent action from politicians to stimulate economic growth across the UK.

Among the key asks are:

  • Better planning for business so that firms are not squeezed out of towns and cities.
  • Introduction of flexibility in the apprenticeship levy to support everyone in the workplace.
  • Strengthened UK-EU co-operation to increase bi-lateral investment levels.
  • Dramatic energy grid upgrades to ensure there is sufficient network capacity to meet modern needs.

The action plan is published in a new report to MPs of all parties ‘The Power Of British Business: A Framework For The Future’. It outlines 16 of the BCC’s key policy asks on economic growth, skills and employment, trade and net-zero.

Following three years of economic shocks, latest BCC research shows that more than three quarters of businesses are not increasing investment. Fact that has been borne out in our own quarterly economic survey. Companies are also telling the BCC that inflation and interest rates continue to exert pressure.

The plan outlines a framework for collaborative working between business and politicians. It stresses that public sector projects must not crowd out private investment. Instead, the BCC is calling for pragmatism from politicians so that business can grow.

A better planning system, a flexible apprenticeship levy, strengthened UK-EU co-operation and a dramatic grid upgrade – are all needed urgently.

All too often businesses are squeezed out of towns and cities, as good land is given over to housing. Local communities thrive when businesses are at their heart. Those businesses need skilled workers, and a flexible apprenticeship levy will make sure employers can give staff the training they need.

The European Union remains our closest trading partner. We need to see UK-EU relations strengthened to benefit the tens of thousands of exporters here.

The transition to net-zero presents businesses with opportunities to grow. But access to the national grid is a huge headache for trailblazing companies. We need to make sure there is sufficient network capacity and flexibility for modern energy needs.

Action on these key issues will make a dramatic difference for the tens of thousands of businesses we represent. Businesses need action, certainty and clarity from politicians – now more than ever.

Read the full report ‘The Power of British Business’ The Power of British Business (

There is also an opportunity to meet three of our local MPs and raise issues in the coming weeks as our Meet the MP events feature Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central on 15th September, Jack Brereton, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South on 29th September and Jo Gideon, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North on 10th November. Details on our events page: Events from Tue 21st November – Wed 17th April, 2024 – Staffordshire Chambers

And if you have any issues relating from any of the above, please let us know by emailing our policy advisor, Declan Riddell .

Or why not join in the debate by attending our forums which cover every aspect of business including finance, planning and infrastructure, transport, digital and energy, environment and sustainability.

For a full list of forums visit: Chambers Forums – Staffordshire Chambers

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, including funding, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222, call the Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email:

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