BCC: A critical time for business to be heard

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the  British Chambers of Commerce, above, is urging the Government to reconnect with business as firms see no progress on the barriers to growth. Speaking at the BCC’s Global Annual Conference 2023, she calls on Government to put business at the heart of its plans to revive the UK economy.  

And with a General Election less than 18 months away she set out the keys issues that matter most to firms, arguing that only by addressing these can business confidence be regained after being battered and bruised by the pandemic, the fallout from the war in Ukraine and last year’s political chaos.  

On the digital revolution, she said: “As we move forward into an increasingly digital age, it’s vital that we answer the crucial questions that firms are asking. How can we use AI to revolutionise the way we operate? What policies could help us embrace its benefits?  And how can we safeguard against negative consequences and ensure no one is left behind in this new digital age? 

“At the Chambers, we’re led by one of Britain’s true digital pioneers. Our President, Martha Lane Fox has been at the heart of digital innovation. [We must] harness the transformative power of technology, tackle the challenges ahead and redesign our future.”   

On global Britain, Haviland emphasised the importance of international trade in growing the UK economy. She said: “Post-Brexit, the UK is figuring out its economic role in the world. Both exports and inward investment are facing growing competition. But it’s a problem we are well placed to help solve. We know how to find opportunities and partners all over the world and give businesses the tools to break into new markets. We are working to ensure that the UK continues to be a great place to invest.  

“So that when global investors are deciding where to put their money, they see in the UK the conditions, talent, and access to finance that make it one of the best places in the world to invest.”