Chamber calls on Government to act on Heseltine Review

6th November 2012

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has called on the Government to act quickly to deliver the outcomes from Lord Heseltine's Review of UK Competitiveness.

The report recommends changes that put much more focus on Economic Growth, gives a proportion of current central public expenditure to the Local Enterprise Partnerships, and outlines his  belief that a business support infrastructure should be built around Chambers of Commerce and that the y  becomes the delivery partners for the LEP 's . Lord Heseltine recognises Chambers are a constant presence, have a unique international status, based in local business communities, are independent and have an existing structure that can be built on. He has called for the Chambers to have enhanced legal status and given basic statutory functions while retaining their independence from Government. However, no timescales on the proposed changes have been given in the report. Chambers  are  required to ensure every business has the opportunity to become a member, that their constitutions are democratic, that the network is organised in a rational and efficient way, and that it is aligned where possible with functional economic market areas. Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: -Obviously we welcome the report from Lord Heseltine because of its emphasis and are delighted he highlights the important role Chambers of Commerce can play in supporting it . -The review is an example of long-term planning and a showcase of what we need to do to make money rather than how we need to save it, which is pleasing to see. -We are open to discussing further with Government on what responsibilities the Chambers could be given. As always the devil will be in the detail and we will be seeking clarification on the full implications of Heseltine's recommendations. -Sheffield Chamber already has close links with the regional LEP, works closely with a range of SMEs to support their development, offer invaluable assistance and guidance on international trade, as well as providing services which save businesses money. But there's always room to deliver more and simplifying the process for businesses. -It is important that all bodies from the Chambers, to the LEP, local authorities, Government and businesses,  to accept  their responsibility for delivering growth. We need to learn from past mistakes and analyse how we can do things better. -Now is the time to act on the findings of the review and drive forward key actions which will achieve success and prosperity, not only for the Sheffield City Region, but for the country. "Lets not make this another expensive report that sits on the shelf or isn't properly implemented. We need growth NOW because people and businesses are hurting  For more information about the review visit www.bis.gov.uk/heseltine-review

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