West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce today calls upon new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to restore economic stability by putting Yorkshire and the North at the heart of its strategy for growth.
Having won the latest Conservative Party leadership election, the Chamber calls on Mr Sunak to immediately announce steps to help businesses cope with an economy which is placing thousands of businesses in a perilous situation.
The new Prime Minister and MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire can help spread confidence to grow and invest by committing to deliver crucial transport infrastructure projects across the North, including HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Mr Sunak will face a historically significant raft of challenges upon taking office, with inflation at its highest level in a generation, energy costs soaring and the economy forecast to fall into recession by the end of the year.
Acting now to ensure levelling up becomes a reality will create the best platform to weather this crisis.
James Mason, chief executive of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “After a chaotic few weeks, we as a Chamber hope that the arrival of Rishi Sunak in Number 10 will herald a period of relative calm for the country.
“Businesses will be seeking clarity on how energy support packages will work beyond April, how issues with the labour market can be resolved and how we can get the nation back to growth.
“We at the Chamber believe that the North can be the driver of economic growth and call for HS2 to Yorkshire and Northern Powerhouse Rail to be used as catalysts to power the nation’s finances.
“The appointment of Rishi Sunak as our new Prime Minister represents not only the first Asian Prime Minister but also only the second Conservative to hold the office from a Northern constituency in British history. It is our hope he will grasp this historic opportunity to utilise the region’s untapped potential to power its future.”
Victoria Wainwright, President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said: “We at Bradford Chamber of Commerce congratulate Rishi Sunak on becoming Prime Minister. We want to work with him to help get Britain back on track for stable economic growth.
“A key step to achieving this would be to lend his unequivocal backing to bringing HS2 to Yorkshire but also to delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, with a station in Bradford.
“Such a commitment would see billions of additional revenue contributed to the Treasury and help put Bradford and Yorkshire at the heart of British growth.”
Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “We would like to congratulate Rishi Sunak on his appointment as Prime Minister.
“The political and economic uncertainty of the past few months has been hugely damaging to British business confidence and must now come to an end.
“The new Prime Minister must be a steady hand on the tiller to see the economy through the challenging conditions ahead.
“This means setting out fully costed plans to deal with the big issues facing businesses; soaring energy bills, labour shortages, spiralling inflation, and climbing interest rates.
“We cannot afford to see any more flip-flopping on policies – the UK’s businesses need a sustainable, long-term economic plan they can believe in.
“The BCC is writing to the Prime Minister to set out the action needed to tackle the main challenges facing business. It is vital we see progress made in these areas to keep doors open and promote investment.
“Firstly, the Government must provide more certainty on the energy support package for businesses and quickly communicate how the system will work from April. Firms need to know what support to expect in the medium and long term.
“Secondly, they must fix the extremely tight labour market. Without the skilled people to do the jobs businesses need, the economy will stagnate.
“Thirdly, to grow the economy, Government must set out a strategy to boost our international trade and exports.
“People run businesses and businesses rely on people. The new administration must grasp that the cost of living and cost of doing business crises are two sides of the same coin.
“We need a clear long-term vision of how the new Prime Minister will deal with the challenges ahead and create the business conditions that allow firms, and the communities that rely on them, to thrive.”
The 42-year-old, whose parents migrated to Britain from East Africa and are Indian by ethnicity, was appointed to the role on Diwali.
Nasreen Karim, chair of the Chamber’s BAME committee and director at law firm Platinum Partnership Solutions, said: “We celebrate the fact that someone from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background has taken such a prestigious office.
“Immigrants from South Asia started to arrive in the UK around 50 years ago and since then have worked hard, taken on professional roles, become entrepreneurs and gone into the world of politics.
“We are delighted to see that through Rishi Sunak’s hard work he has now attracted enough support to become Prime Minister.
“In taking the highest office in the UK Rishi Sunak has become an inspiration to all minorities across the country.”