South Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce write open letter to Conservative Party members in the region selecting their next leader and the UK’s Prime Minister.

Dear Conservative Party members of South Yorkshire,

You have the great responsibility of selecting a new leader not only for your party but also the country at what is a critical time for our economy.  As you consider your choice we ask that you keep the needs of business – the wealth generators and job creators of our country – uppermost in your thoughts.

Our new Prime Minister must grip the major challenges faced by companies in this region and beyond. Firms are struggling with the continued impacts of COVID and Brexit. The crises in the cost of doing business, consumer price inflation, disruptions to supply chains and travel from the ‘shortage economy’ are all laid bare in our latest Quarterly Economic Survey report.  The situation demands action but businesses see a national political establishment focused on itself.  And they despair at the casual slippage in standards in public life that they would never tolerate as employers. The business community needs a leader who will tackle these priority economic issues and rehabilitate Britain’s international reputation.

Despite the headwinds South Yorkshire still has much to celebrate. We have big inward investment successes like Hybrid Air Vehicles; apprenticeship employers like AESSEAL recently assessed by government to be among the country’s best; shortlisting for the Great British Railways HQ; funding secured for major urban regeneration schemes like Castlegate in Sheffield. In recent months we’ve launched two major strategic documents in the region’s Local Skills Improvement Plan and our People & Skills Manifesto. Our Quarterly Economic Survey shows our business investment is outperforming the UK. Firms continue to want to grow their operations and hire more people here.

To keep up the momentum in our economic revival, the new Prime Minister must commit to levelling up the region with tangible action and bold policy, not just more of the pleasing rhetoric that businesses have heard many times before. We need to look again at the scale and focus of investment in levelling-up priorities like infrastructure and industrial development.  They must support us to deliver on the promise of our Local Skills Improvement Plan to transform our region into the leading, high-skilled, high-value economy we know it can be.

With best regards,

Andrew Denniff, CEO Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber

Daniel Fell, CEO Doncaster Chamber

Alexis Krachai and Louisa Harrison-Walker, Joint CEOs, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

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