WHAT if I told you I spent April Fool’s Day with Karen Brady, Theo Paphitis, Lord Mandelson, Ed Balls, Michael Gove and Ken Clarke?
Surprisingly it’s not the start of a bad joke, rather some of the names who spoke at the British Chambers of Commerce’s annual conference on April 1 at the QEII Conference Centre in London.
As well as a host of politicians and well-known figures from business, the conference brings together representatives from Chambers and companies across Britain; giving attendees a chance to network, share practice and learn from each other.
With 29 speakers scheduled, it was a jam-packed agenda with something for everyone. The business-focused speakers talked in depth about the wide issues organisations currently face, whilst some of the MPs in attendance took the opportunity to begin their re-election campaigns.
Through the rhetoric, John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, set out his vision for ‘great growth’ and the need to transform the UK economy from being ‘merely good’.
He explained that the only way we can continue to afford things like the green agenda, defence, overseas aid and the emergency services is through sustainable wealth creation; stating this needs to be the number one priority of any government and urging the political class to be more economically literate and business orientated. Longworth praised the Chancellor’s policy of ‘fixing the roof while the sun shines’, but warned that whoever is elected in 2015 will be forced to make difficult decisions on cuts at government departments which are not ring fenced.
Export continues to be a big issue and the director general reiterated this, focusing on the Prime Minister’s feeling that international trade is vital to rebalancing the economy. He identified that in order to achieve Mr Cameron’s goal, exports need to grow around 10 per cent per annum until 2020.
He closed by praising Britain’s creativity, talent and entrepreneurialism, which I’m proud to say West Cheshire and North Wales leads the way in. The future continues to look bright.