A delegation of 20 business leaders from Suffolk’s premier business membership body attended yesterday (28th February) a business event which attracted national interest and high-profiled speakers including Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon Boris Johnson MP, Shadow Chancellor Rt. Hon. John McDonnell MP, previous Chancellor Rt. Hon George Osborne MP and Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce delegation, the largest for some years, made its presence felt at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) annual conference, held in central London, with a video message from chief executive, John Dugmore outlining the county’s contribution to the national economy, especially strengths in the energy, food and drink, agri-tech, high-tech and transport sectors.
Sarah Howard MBE, president of Suffolk Chamber, who also sits on the BCC board, commented “the event was brilliant. It was a great showcase for the whole Chamber network. The speaker list showed just how well regarded we are and how keen senior politicians and corporate businesspeople are to meet and engage with us.”
The conference focussed on three key themes:
- Growing Business in the Regions and Nations
- Brexit: Turning Uncertainty into Opportunity
- Keeping the UK Competitive – vision 2030
Delegates heard speeches from Boris Johnson on globalisation, John McDonnell on the need for business rates reform, Greg Clark on the role of business in shaping and delivering the emerging Industrial Strategy and Ciaran Quilty, Facebook’s EMEA Director SMB about the growth of social media as a business tool. George Osborne contributed to a discussion about freeing up the regional potential of the business community to boost prosperity.
The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Theresa May MP, also spoke to the conference via video.
John Dugmore added “a key theme throughout the day was the role of the business community to not only be as agile and innovative as possible in taking advantage of opportunities, but to be employers who help their staff develop the right skills and aptitudes to succeed and to discharge their civic responsibilities to the wider communities they serve.”
“Suffolk is well-placed on all three of these criteria and I came away from the conference both optimistic for and proud of this county’s business community.”