Chamber Reacts to Spending Review with Caution

28th June 2013

Commenting on the Government's Spending Review, Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce said: "We cannot ignore the fact that these cuts will put further pressure on local government budgets that, on the face of it, will be difficult to deal with.

-In business we've met this pressure before - faced with increased international competition for many years which put ever increasing pressure on our cost base. Our reaction was to implement massive business improvement programmes that drove out waste because we had no option. "These changes are hard to do because they require us to think out of our comfort zones, and in the public sector they affect many more peoples' personal lives, but I see no option but to do them or we will never get on the road to growth that is ultimately the only real solution to our problems. I cannot imagine many people would like to see us inflate ourselves out of it! "If we don't drive growth we will find ourselves fighting over an ever decreasing pot of money and I believe that is where we are! "There is a big push in the country to drive more localism. That means less spent on national government programmes and more devolved to the Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Authorities that will be used to drive local priorities. -It will require more of us working together to pool resources and we will have to invest any money we have in delivering real growth and more and better jobs for all. We have to focus on the outcomes and not be process driven. -This will mean responsibility will have to be devolved to specialist delivery groups with fewer layers of management and less red tape. In many areas the City Council will have to be a facilitator, rather than the decision maker and funder. "That apart, it is pleasing to see £50bn will be spent on infrastructure and housing. It will help employ people in the short term but, providing we do the right programmes, also drive long-term growth. It has a return and therefore is a commercial investment.

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