Clarity required to rebalance economy - Chamber

27 October 2016

Greater Birmingham business leaders have called on the Government to bring clarity on a number of key issues in order to rebalance the UK’s economy.

Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show GDP rose by 0.5 per cent in the past three months.

But the figure for July to September was down by 0.2 per cent from the second quarter – the months before Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Economic growth in quarter three was driven by the services sector, which rose by 0.8 per cent – but construction suffered a 1.4 per cent drop and manufacturing was down by 1 per cent.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner (pictured) said the Government must do more to address business concerns in the wake of Brexit to help boost confidence in key sectors such as manufacturing.

He said clarification on the rights of European nationals living and working in the UK should be high on the agenda.

"Today's results are further evidence of the strength and robustness of the UK' s economy,” said Mr Faulkner.

“However, there is no denying that this quarter's growth was driven by the services sector.

“We still have a way to go on rebalancing the economy and growing the UK's manufacturing sector.

“Businesses are still facing uncertainty in light of the Brexit vote. I would urge the Government to do more to address businesses concerns in the run up to the activation of Article 50 and during negotiations.

“In the short term, the business community need confirmation that the European nationals already living in the UK and employed by many firms will be given long term residence rights.” 

Mr Faulkner hopes the Government will use next month’s Autumn Statement to reaffirm their commitment to growth in the Midlands, following Prime Minister Theresa May’s glowing appraisal of Birmingham and the Midlands Engine at the Conservative Party Conference.  

“Next month's Autumn Statement will provide a massive opportunity for the Chancellor to demonstrate the Government's commitment to growing the economy and building investor confidence,” he added.

“We hope to see investment in vital infrastructure and pro-enterprise measures at its core.

“The Government was full of praise and positivity for Birmingham, the West Midlands and the Midlands Engine during their party conference.

“The Autumn Statement will be the time for them to turn these words into action and demonstrate their commitment to regional economic growth."


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