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
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.