New Prime Minister needs to take urgent action, say Warwickshire business leaders

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire want to see new Prime Minister Liz Truss take immediate steps to support the economy.

Truss beat Rishi Sunak MP in race to be the new Conservative Party leader and takes over the reins amidst rising inflation and a costs’ crisis for individuals and businesses.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “There has been a hiatus in Government while this leadership race has taken place at a time when businesses and individuals are facing a major crisis of rising costs that simply cannot be sustained.

“We wish Liz Truss every success as the new Prime Minister and she will have to hit the ground running if the country is to get to grips with the issues around energy costs and inflation that are putting huge strain on the economy.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

“There is very little time to waste and it’s vitally important that the economy gets the support it needs to help overcome this crisis.

“The new Prime Minister has an incredible opportunity to act quickly and decisively in appointing a strong cabinet focused on business growth and with some brave, game changing policies that will address the issues businesses are facing around trade, energy costs and recruitment.

“The West Midlands is the heartbeat of the UK economy and we need a PM that will use business organisations such as Chambers of Commerce to help businesses survive and grow.”

Sarah Howard, chair of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “We would like to congratulate Liz Truss on running a successful campaign to become the UK’s new Prime Minister.

“She must now take immediate steps to support the economy. The last few months have been difficult for everyone, time is running out and urgent action is needed to deal with the costs’ crisis.

“We believe the country has already entered a recession and that inflation will hit at least 14 per cent in the months ahead.

“Like households, firms have been telling us of unsustainable rises in their energy bills and how difficult it is to find new fixed term contracts to buffer against further price hikes.

“Unless the new Prime Minister addresses these problems head-on then the economy will drift further into dangerous waters and the outlook for both businesses and consumers will be bleak indeed.

“The BCC set out a five-point action plan to support businesses at the end of August and sent it to the Treasury and Liz Truss’s team. It is now imperative that we see movement on our proposals.

“The plan is not just about ensuring support for businesses. It is also about protecting jobs, securing livelihoods, and creating a vibrant and prosperous society.”

The BCC five-point plan to support businesses includes the following measures:

1. Ofgem to be given more power to strengthen regulation of the energy market for businesses

2. Temporary cut in VAT to five per cent to reduce energy costs for businesses

3. Covid-style support by introducing Government Emergency Energy Grant for SMEs

4. Temporarily reverse NICs and put money back into the pockets of businesses and workers

5. Government to immediately review and reform the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to help bring down wage pressures and fill staffing vacancies