Your membership connects you to 52 other Chambers across the UK and over 30 overseas British Chambers. This is an unparalleled and unique network that you have direct access. This means we have the authority to be the ‘Voice of Business’. We actively engage at the local, regional and national level to influence and lobby decisions on behalf of business. We also represent businesses of all sizes, sectors and types. This update gives you an overview of what we have been actively participating in on behalf of our members.
Addressing the 6 challenges you said matter most
Cardiff City Deal
Chamber President Liz Maher attended the signing of the City Deal document by the leaders of the ten local authorities
The City Deal includes funding of £734m for the South Wales Metro, of which over £500 million is provided by the Welsh Government and £125m from the UK Government .
The UK Government has provided a £375m contribution, and the ten local authorities have agreed a commitment to borrow a combined total of £120million as part of the Wider Investment Fund.
The Cardiff Capital Region Transition Plan will detail key activity to be undertaken, including establishing a Regional Office to drive the delivery of the Regional Cabinet’s work programme in anticipation of receiving proposals. This includes the creation of a bespoke impact assessment model for those proposals.
The transition phase will also see the creation and development of three advisory bodies to the Regional Cabinet – the CCR Economic Growth Partnership, a region-wide business representation organisation and an Employment and Skills Board, and one delivery body, the Regional Transport Authority.
We will continue to ensure that your business voice is heard to influence the development of plans as they emerge.
Brexit: how are we working towards your interests? The Chamber Network Business Brexit Priorities
Your voice is being represented nationally and collectively. The Chamber network has contributed to a national set of Priorities that we are taking to the politicians and officials to influence Brexit discussions. The British Chambers of Commerce has published a business blueprint for the UK government ahead of the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Titled Business Brexit Priorities, the report synthesizes feedback from over 400 businesses at 16 Chamber-hosted focus groups, along with nearly 20,000 responses to Chamber surveys. The Welsh Business Barometer was the contribution from the South Mid and North Wales Chambers. It puts forward priorities for action across seven key areas where business communities want practical solutions and certainty.
The full report can be downloaded here. Business Brexit Priorities
Elgan is also actively commenting on your and appeared recently on the Wales
If you have any comments on this please pass them onto Heather or Elgan .
BCC’s policy work
The British Chambers of Commerce has a high-profile policy and lobbying team that represents the interests of members in Westminster, Whitehall and in Brussels. Working together with the chamber network, the BCC works with decision-makers to influence policy decisions ensuring the interests of businesses are represented. This includes economic policy, influencing the course of new legislation that has an impact on the business community and giving business a voice in Parliament, the media and with decision makers.
You can find out more about the Policy and External Affairs Team here. If you have any issues you would like raised at a National level please get in touch so that we can best express these to the BCC on your behalf.
2017 BCC Annual Conference
Along with 600 other delegates your Chamber attended the conference. Such is the power of this network that the #bccconf hashtag trended at number 2 on the day, with the event receiving national press coverage.
Your president Liz Maher, was an expert panellist at the event, discussing the issues that Brexit presents to businesses in Wales. This shows that as part of your membership we are connecting with politicians at a National level on your behalf.
- Expanding Successfully
Using Social media effectively: a member toolkit
Members have been telling us that they would like more support for online marketing to support you the Chamber has developed these tools:
Wales Export Business Summit
Rebecca and Jo attended the recent export summit, details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-hosts-inaugural-wales-export-business-summit.
BCC International Trade Survey 2016: Impact of fall in Sterling on business
The recent fall in the value of Sterling is squeezing domestic sales margins, and increasing the cost base of UK businesses, according to the results of the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) latest International Trade Survey. The findings also indicate that the weak pound is expected to push up the prices of products and services.
The results of the survey, run in partnership with Moneycorp and based on the responses of nearly 1,500 surveyed businesses, indicate that the recent devaluation of Sterling is having a negative impact on the domestic sales margins of nearly half of businesses (44%). The effect is more diverse on export margins, with roughly equal levels of businesses reporting a positive (25%) and negative (22%) impact, suggesting that while the fall in value of the pound may be helping some UK exporters, it’s also hurting others.
The survey also found that 68% of businesses expect the fall in the value of Sterling to increase their cost base in the coming year. In turn, over half (54%) of companies expect to have to increase the prices of their products and services over the next 12 months.
A summary of the results are available on this link BCC International Trade Survey Part 2
- Recruitment and Skills
University of South Wales and Skills
Working with Chamber Member University of South Wales we are working hard to voice your concerns about the skills agenda. This month we have provided comment on development of the Level 3 WJEC syllabus to focus more on business skills you need.
We are also delighted to announce that the Exchange is now open. This is meeting facility at the University of South Wales campus Pontypridd where members can arrange to meet with the Chamber, meet each other and also meet with university staff to discuss your business needs, be it research or connecting you to skilled students. We are working up an offer for Chamber members to give you a great opportunity to use this facility as a meeting space and help create a place where you can get into a conversation with the University about research needs you might have, intern opportunities and give you the chance to identify the types of student you are looking to attract into your business.
Elgan, the Chambers Policy Manager spoke at a Wales Policy Forum event on apprenticeships and attached is the apprenticeships toolkit. https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/sites/dfes/files/documents/communications_toolkit_for_skills_policy_and_apprenticeship_levy.pdf
There’s also this media statement https://southwaleschamber.co.uk/new-apprentice-scheme/
- Keeping Ahead of Competition
Heather met with this business sub group of Ken Skates Council for Economic Renewal. The ongoing topics of discussion continues to be:
- Welsh Government apprenticeship policy , https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/apprenticeship-levy
- Local Government Reform
- Welsh Government Economic Strategy
- Review of meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure
- Procurement Update
For any Chamber members with any views on these issues please get in touch with Elgan Morgan your Policy Manager who will be making formal responses on these where needed and your views are very important to us.
M4 Relief Road
£1.1bn M4 relief road public inquiry to begin (28/02/2017)
- An independent public inquiry into the £1.1bn M4 relief road to the south of Newport will start on Tuesday
- The Welsh Government wants to build a six-lane motorway between Magor and Castleton to relieve congestion on the current M4 around the Brynglas tunnels
Members have informed us that the Black Route is their preferred option, please make your voice heard.
Cardiff Airport and Heathrow and business aviation needs.
Heather has attended meeting with Chamber member Cardiff airport, along with a range of aviation supply chain businesses, and Flybe. The purpose was to look at
- Improving the ability for business travel from Cardiff Airport to increased destinations and hubs for onward travel to connect Welsh businesses to more destinations worldwide.
- The transport issues facing connectivity to Cardiff Airport to the road, rail and public transport networks to enable travellers to reach Cardiff, Swansea, Newport the valleys and West Wales much easier without relying on car transport.
- The wider economic benefits for creating businesses around the airport and what that might look like.
- Understanding the major economic benefits that could exist for Welsh business were long haul Air Passenger Duty to be devolved to Welsh Government and subsequently reduced.
If any members have any particular views that they would like to make please let Heather know. Heather.email@example.com
Heathrow In addition at a separate roundtable with Lord Deighton, Chairman of London Heathrow Airport enabled the Chamber to explore the opportunities for being part of the Third Runway supply chain. We were delighted to be able to help two Chamber businesses connect to this event too, a great example of how the Chamber can help your business to connect to wide opportunities
Although this is some years ahead, there is work than can be undertaken and a summit on July 5th will be organised where businesses will be able to meet Tier 1 suppliers to find out more. Get this diary marker in and as we find out more we will let you know. https://your.heathrow.com/takingbritainfurther/wales-flight-path-growth-heathrow-strategic-partnership/
Regional Transport: Rail and Road
Rail Franchise : We continue to be an active voice in ensuring the business needs are reflected in the new rail franchise that is being commissioned at the moment by Welsh Government, whether this be wifi connectivity, regular connections that work to connect you with Wales and beyond via rail transport, meeting facilities in stations, and business opportunities that can be created by close working to stations, we are working across all 4 of the preferred contractors to ensure your voice is heard.
M4 Relief Road : We are actively engaging with the hearing into the M4, voicing your support for the Black Route.
- Business Environment
Hinkley Point (EDF) Supply Chain: Huge potential for Wales
Heather visited Hinkley Point with the Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Bristol West Chambers of Commerce.
The tour was organised as part of the Hinkley Supply Chain and EDF Energy’s continued commitment to engage with businesses across the region. We saw first-hand the scale and complexity of the project.
There are around 150 Tier 1 contractors who are all working with tier 2 and tier 3 contractors on a huge amount of contracts, from catering, to surfacing, bespoke conduits, cabling, lintels, lifting, civil engineering and precision instruments. The Somerset Chamber is working with EDF to identify what contracts are being let, and when to help smaller business get the right accreditation, regulatory compliance, skills and scale up of production to meet demand. Check out the potential here:
There is a great opportunity for South Wales businesses to connect and offer services linked to the local supply chain for the nuclear power station being constructed at Hinkley Point. All of the South Wales Chamber area is in the priority regional supply chain area. This means that any business in this area is able to offer to supply goods and services to support a wide variety of Work Packages that underpin this massive project.
This is a huge opportunity for welsh businesses to connect and one that we can proudly connect with Chamber to Chamber. Businesses need to register by going onto the Portal.
An invitation is being sent to ask Somerset Chamber to do a small presentation on this. If you would like to express an interest to attend, please let Heather know. firstname.lastname@example.org
London Chamber: Wales Week London
Your Chamber linked with the London Chamber of Commerce on a B2B FREE networking event as part of Wales Week London http://www.walesweek.london/
This took place in London on 7th March. Work is underway for next year and any business wanting to get involved can express an interest for an early heads up on next year. http://walesweek.london/news/wales-week-in-london-2018-dates-announced
A number of members were involved in this we’ll bring any feedback for you.
Business in the Community
Heather met with Matt Appleby of Business in the Community Cymru. Whilst they are also a membership organisation their work may be of interest to you. They have programmes specifically aimed at Environmental Sustainability and Schools http://www.bitc.org.uk/wales
One Voice Wales
We have met with One Voice Wales the organisation who represents community and town Councils across Wales. For Chamber members in town centre and High Street locations, there may be occasions where joining your voice to this democratically elected voice might prove helpful in making comments where we share views. This may be pertinent to the Rates debate. Where we can align your voice with other likeminded organisations who share your concerns on particular issues we will continue to create more impact in lobbying by joining the business voice together
February and March have been busy months and the Chamber team have been working at International, national regional and local levels to get your voice heard and to ensure that through your membership you have an ear to the ground on the keys issues of the day. Here are the highlights.
March and April (highlights)
- Meetings ongoing with FSB, CBI and IOD to discuss how the business voice can be most effective in influencing Cardiff City Deal and wider regional working.
- Joining the voice and policy of Wales, by discussions with the North Wales Chamber of Commerce
- Bank of England, update meeting planned in March
- Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to visit Cardiff on 16th March as part of the ongoing consultation on the Industrial Strategy. If any business wants to make comments via the Chamber or directly here is the Green Paper. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/586626/building-our-industrial-strategy-green-paper.pdf
- International visit by the Romanian embassy on 27th march, 4 Chamber business have expressed an interest and will be attending.
- Exporting to the United Arab Emirates and InternationalTraining https://southwaleschamber.co.uk/training-events-calendar/)
- Making Tax Digital, HMRC Permanent Secretary Edward Troup, HMRC holding a roundtable discussion with a select group regarding the new plans. https://southwaleschamber.co.uk/event/making-tax-digital/
- Brexit: Understanding Article 50 (https://southwaleschamber.co.uk/event/brexit-insight-article-50-process/)