Chamber joins call for government to save the economy from crisis

Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid has echoed the call of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) for the UK government to protect the economy from crisis and support businesses in their recovery.

In a speech delivered at the BCC’s global annual conference, Director General Shevaun Haviland said: “Everywhere I go I hear the same stories from businesses. They tell me about the difficulties they have faced throughout this year: increasing cost of raw materials over last summer, supply chain and shipping issues, problems in recruiting people and, by this March, spiralling energy prices.

“It really is the perfect storm of increasing costs, firmly putting the brakes on recovery.”

In Wales, businesses are all too familiar with the concerns recalled by the BCC’s Director General.

In Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid’s Quarterly Economic Survey for Q2, almost two thirds of businesses in Wales expect that they will have to increase the prices of their goods and services in the next quarter and are under pressure to raise prices due to external factors.

77.22% of businesses cited the cost of raw materials as a factor, while 69.62% and 65.82% cited the increase in fuel and energy costs as contributors to potential future price rises respectively.

The Chamber and BCC had previously called on the government to temporarily reverse their commitment to raise National Insurance contribution and minimise energy costs ahead of the Spring Statement, as well as to introduce emergency budget measures in May.

Shevaun Haviland said: “The Spring Statement was a missed opportunity. We saw some support for business, but the lack of a clear strategic direction meant it did not give clarity or confidence. This has to change as we are on limited time. The government has until the autumn budget to reset, rethink and get their house in order.”

Paul Slevin, President of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said: “Businesses in Wales have shown their resilience through the difficult economic challenges of the last few years but, with high inflation and soaring costs across the board, there is a real need for government assistance to ensure businesses are able to continue their recovery. Businesses need help now.

“In addition to short-term measures to help businesses face current challenges, a long-term economic strategy for growth and recovery is required.”

The full speech can be read here: https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2022/06/director-general-shevaun-havilands-speech-to-bccs-global-annual-conference-2022