We now need more state­ments and pol­icy de­ci­sions to re­as­sure us – and other na­tions – that the fu­ture of UK busi­ness will be bright

– Philippa Bat­ting, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Bucks Busi­ness First

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

ON the day af­ter the EU ref­er­en­dum I told the Bucks Ad­ver­tiser/

Ex­am­iner what busi­ness needed was clar­ity on the gov­ern­ment’s plan for the economy dur­ing the tran­si­tion to a post-EU world.

Af­ter a few weeks of po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial limbo we have fi­nally seen the first signs of this with the cre­ation of the Depart­ment for Busi­ness, En­ergy and In­dus­trial Strat­egy (BEIS), re­plac­ing the now de­funct Depart­ment for Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Skills (BIS).

While this may not im­me­di­ately seem like clar­ity, in the case of Brexit it is a step in the right di­rec­tion when in­ac­tion sim­ply wasn’t an op­tion and the lack of de­ci­sion mak­ing that was ap­par­ent in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math was cre­at­ing un­cer­tainty. Un­cer­tainty is not com­pat­i­ble with growth, some­thing most busi­nesses tell us they seek. It is un­cer­tainty that has caused some to see or­ders from EU com­pa­nies dis­ap­pear, con­tracts torn up and fu­tures put on hold, so while we wait for spe­cific poli­cies to fol­low the cre­ation of BEIS, it is pos­i­tive that a de­ci­sion has been made and that Theresa May has be­gun to out­line her vi­sion of the fu­ture, namely one that fea­tures “a proper in­dus­trial strat­egy to get the whole economy fir­ing.”

We now need more state­ments and pol­icy de­ci­sions to re­as­sure us – and other na­tions – that the fu­ture of UK busi­ness will be bright, or else un­cer­tainty will fes­ter.

Buckinghamshire’s busi­nesses should have ev­ery rea­son to be pos­i­tive, not least be­cause the county is, and will con­tinue to be, one of few to de­liver a re­turn on in­vest­ment to the Trea­sury. Our life sciences, space and creative in­dus­tries fly the flag for Bucks and the UK all around the world – and be­yond, as in the case of Ayles­bury-based MoogISP which de­signed and built the main en­gine on the Juno mis­sion to Jupiter. A re­cent in­vest­ment of more than £4mil­lion was made in West­cott Ven­ture Park, where Moog is based, in the name of space propul­sion in­vest­ment, which meets the rec­om­men­da­tion made in the 2013 Witty Re­view that gov­ern­ment in­vest­ment should be made in places that can “show po­ten­tial to be among the best in the world.” I ex­pect our busi­nesses will con­tinue to flour­ish in which­ever en­vi­ron­ment they are trad­ing. That said, they still need rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

That’s why when one of BEIS’s re­mits is to lead the “gov­ern­ment’s re­la­tion­ship with busi­ness,” I wel­come it as an in­vite to take on board and then rep­re­sent the views of Buck’s busi­nesses in the process de­vel­op­ing a new re­la­tion­ship with gov­ern­ment to keep at­tract­ing in­vest­ment into the county.

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