The APPG sends letter to Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury

11 May 2019

To: Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Dear Steve

THE EAST OF ENGLAND’S POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTION TO ‘THE GREAT RECOVERY’

The East of England APPG met last week to discuss the contribution businesses, small and large, will be able to make to national recovery and the specific interventions and/or support from national Government that will be needed. For your information the meeting heard from:

  • Sheena Shah – Chair of East of England FSB
  • Jane Galvin – former EE CBI Chair and Head of UK Corporate Banking for HSBC
  • Cllr Linda Haysey – Chair-elect of the East of England LGA

The following twelve “consensus” points were made at the meeting attended by MPs and business, public and third sector leaders – 68 in total:

  1. After two years of uncertainty – from the Brexit process, General Election and now Coronavirus – the business sector is now looking for certainty in order to move forward positively.
  2. Clarity is of the utmost importance to the 60% of the economy which is made up of SMEs: clarity on how and when the economy can return to normal including detailed guidelines.
  3. The well received support that the Government has provided needs to continue and show flexibility to meet the needs of different sectors of the economy, which are being “hit” to varying degrees.
  4. Many large businesses have adjusted to the new normal with unprecedented agility and now look for similar agility from central Government especially regards the furlough scheme.
  5. Whilst banks are delivering private sector loans, some with and some without Government guarantees, HM Treasury should look at how it can further encourage private sector investment for longer term growth.
  6. The Coronavirus emergency has highlighted the extreme importance and indeed high dependency of business on digital infrastructure in the East of England and this should be a priority for the Government moving forward.
  7. Many businesses in the region are extremely entrepreneurial and innovative but don’t always have – or are able to recruit – those with the right skills. Delivering with FE the skilled workforce needed post Coronavirus is a critical task.
  8. The environment has moved up the agenda so there is now a question regards how the gains – in terms of cleaner air, more quiet, and indeed the strength of community and volunteering – is factored into the recovery.
  9. The future of public transport, as well as the East of England’s formerly symbiotic relationship with London, will need further consideration and planning by all partners.
  10. The spirit of collaboration – between LEPs, businesses and local authorities, working with central Government – should be built upon and further empowered through a request to update LIS to Local Industrial and Recovery Strategies using revised evidence bases.
  11. There is a degree of anxiety about relaxing the lockdown and maintaining social distancing for those not working from home. Mental as well as physical health are of utmost concern. Transparency amongst all parties is important.
  12. Although the length and depth of the recession are not known, austerity shouldn’t feature in the Government’s response. It will be important that Coronavirus’ impact on BAME and essential workers is taken into account as we move from recession to recovery based on mutual respect.

We would appreciate your response to these points in due course.

Finally, we would also draw to your attention the letter sent in advance of the Budget which highlighted a number of wider points for example regards the region’s network of dynamic high growth corridors, its coastal communities, which require “levelling up” support and the need for funding for local government. We would still also very much like to hear your views on these matters too.

Yours sincerely

Peter Aldous MP                                                                      Daniel Zeichner MP

Co-Chairs, East of England All Party Parliamentary Group

 

Read a copy of the letter here.