Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
A report released on Thursday by the Institute for Government suggested that ‘turf wars’ between ministers looking to control the Brexit negotiations were delaying proceedings and costing the taxpayer. The report found that, largely due to the need to hire 500 additional civil servants, the costs of the Brexit talks were already approaching £65m.
Theresa May has also come under increased pressure to reveal her ‘Brexit plan’ this week. Nicky Morgan, former education secretary, and Ken Clarke, the former chancellor, have both called on the Prime Minister to offer more information ahead of next week’s Conservative Party Conference.
This week also saw Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi claim that it would be impossible for Brexit talks to leave Britain with more rights that other countries outside the EU. He also blamed former Prime Minister David Cameron for the result of the Referendum.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox seemed to recognise this as he signalled that Britain would leave the single market on Thursday. Fox pledged that the UK would become a newly independent member of the World Trade Organisation and would be in a “prime position to be a global leader in free trade”.
Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, raised eyebrows on Tuesday as he used a visit to Ankara to pledge support for Turkey’s bid to join the EU. As well as reassuring the country of Britain’s continued support following July’s attempted coup in Turkey, Johnson also took the opportunity to praise his beautiful, well-functioning Turkish washing machine.
Jeremy Corbyn used his Labour Party Conference speech this week to call for people to respect the result of the EU Referendum and to criticise those who patronised or lectured Leave voters. He also committed Labour to resisting a Brexit that undercut workers’ rights and social justice.
Earlier in the week, Corbyn also warned that British manufacturing would be hit very hard if Government were to pursue a ‘hard Brexit’ strategy and suggested that a Labour Government would not seek to curb immigration but would set up a fund to support communities to ease pressure on public services.
This Week at the Chambers
Yesterday, the GBCC launched our new International Hub. This is an exciting new initiative which brings together our extensive range of international trade support services. It will act as a one-stop-shop for all importers and exporters whether they are established businesses or people considering trading internationally for the first time. You can read more here
We also announced the theme of our upcoming Chamber Expo which will be held at the Barclaycard Arena on 14th October. The theme will be ‘Connect, Support, Grow’ and the event includes a major programme of speakers including Qasim Majid, founder and CEO of Jewellery Quarter web firm WowZone, HS2 supply chain manager, Robert Slater, and author and strategist, Moe Nawaz. To book your place at the Expo, click here.
We’ve also been praising the resilience of the Greater Birmingham business community ahead of the launch of our next Quarterly Business Report. The survey on which the report is based revealed that 61% of local companies expected to improve their turnover in the next year. To read more about this, click here. We will discuss the full results of our Quarterly Business Report at a breakfast event at Birmingham City University on 11th October. To book your place at the event, please click here.
This week has also seen the Chamber gearing up for a number of big events next week. As well as all of our activity around the Conservative Party Conference, we’ve getting ready for our AGM on Wednesday 5th October and our Bank of England Lunchtime Briefing session on Friday 7th October.