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British Chambers of Commerce News

British Chambers of Commerce News (549)

Aside from staff pay, firms are more likely to increase their investment in training, and introduce more flexible working practices, in order to retain staff, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and recruitment company Indeed.

The survey, of over 1,000 businesspeople across all sizes and sectors, shows that just under half (42%) of businesses would invest in training and developing their staff in order to increase staff retention, while 38% would look to introduce flexible working practices, from flexible hours and remote working to job-sharing.

Commenting on the inflation statistics for June 2018, published today by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Inflation was unchanged in June for the second successive month, with the upward price pressure from higher fuel costs offset by falling prices for a number of items, including clothing.

“The continued pick-up in producer prices suggests that inflation may rise a little in the short term as the recent oil price increases pass through supply chains, fuelling higher consumer prices. However, any period of rising price growth is likely to be temporary, and inflation should resume its downward trajectory once the impact of the pick-up in oil prices subsidies.

Commenting on the passage of amendments to the Customs Bill, which commit the government to fully separating the UK from the EU VAT regime, Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is the first view businesses have on what the VAT regime could be like after Brexit – and it doesn’t look pretty.

“A separate UK VAT system will create significant on-going costs for businesses trading across borders, unless special work-arounds are put in place. This change will pile pressure on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which is already contending with other facets of Brexit, plus the delivery of a new customs system and Making Tax Digital.

Commenting on the labour market figures for July 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Robust jobs growth, together with another drop-in unemployment, is further evidence of the continued strength of the UK labour market.

“The second successive slowdown in regular pay growth is disappointing. This means that earnings growth in real terms remains in positive territory by just a small margin and so is unlikely to provide much of a boost to consumer spending power. UK wage growth continues to be undermined by poor productivity and the marked impact of underemployment. The failure to tackle the escalating burden of upfront business costs is also weighing on the extent to which pay is able to rise.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the leading UK business organisation, is delighted to announce the appointment of Claire Walker and Hannah Essex as Co-Executive Directors of Policy and Campaigns.

Claire and Hannah arrive from leading education organisation Teach First, where they have been Co-Directors of Communications since 2015, with both having held that position individually. At BCC they will be responsible for leading the BCC’s policy positioning and lobbying efforts, including campaigns around eradicating mobile not-spots, fixing the fundamentals of the UK’s domestic infrastructure, and Brexit. They take over from Ian Hagg, who has held the role on an interim basis since January 2018.

Commenting on the release of the UK government’s long-awaited White Paper on the future UK-EU relationship, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “At last, businesses have a more comprehensive understanding of the Government's aspirations for the UK's future relationship with the European Union.

“This vision should not have taken two years and three weeks to emerge, but it is nevertheless a welcome starting point for businesses.

Commenting on the new monthly GDP statistics and key short-term indicators for May 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The latest GDP data confirms that there was a modest rally in economic activity over recent months but coming after the marked slowdown in the first quarter there is further confirmation that UK growth remains underwhelming.   

Commenting on the launch of the National Infrastructure Assessment today (Tuesday), Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Business will welcome this long-term plan for infrastructure investment, and particularly the focus on digital and transport connectivity, but business communities have seen plans come and go before, so it’s action that’s required above all else. We need politicians of all parties, and at a local and national level, to get behind these recommendations, give certainty and confidence to investors and bring about faster infrastructure delivery on the ground to fix the fundamentals of the domestic business environment.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) today (Monday) publishes its Quarterly Economic Survey – the UK’s largest and most authoritative private-sector business survey, and a lead indicator for UK GDP growth. Based on the responses of over 6,000 businesses, the survey suggests that UK economic conditions remain sluggish, despite a modest improvement in activity in the second quarter of 2018.

In the dominant service sector, consumer-facing industries, such as hospitality and retail, continue to report tougher trading conditions. Cashflow and investment intentions are falling significantly for retailers in particular as consumer spending, a key driver of UK growth, continues to remain subdued.

Responding to the statement issued at the conclusion of the Chequers summit, where the Cabinet has agreed its negotiating position for the UK's future relationship with the EU, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "For Brexit-weary businesses seeking clarity, this agreement brings hope of an end to months of disappointing Westminster in-fighting. 

"We welcome the Cabinet's collective decision to prioritise trade and economic stability under the Prime Minister's leadership. For business, there is strength in unity as the UK seeks to develop a new relationship with the EU.

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