General

Chamber calls for 'comprehensive strategy for enterprise' in response to election announcement

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: May 22, 2024 | Updated: 23rd May 2024

Following around 24 hours of speculation, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has officially announced a general election will take place on 4th July 2024.

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Responding to this announcement, Ross McNally, Chief Executive and Executive Chairman of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to go for a summer election.

“There has been so much speculation about timing and the economy cannot hang around in uncertainty any longer.

“Whichever party wins, they must champion a comprehensive strategy for enterprise backed by fiscal measures that can make it work.

“Now that we are finally post-Brexit, we are competing on a global stage for skills, productivity and investment.

“We need to back Britain and the best way for government to do that is to support British industry while making skills a central focus alongside stable finances.

“Whoever wins, they must have the courage to put business front and centre so that money comes back into the economy through growth and prosperity and can fund the essential public services we all rely on in a sustainable, long-term way.”

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Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, said: “We have seen some positive strides in recognising the value of returners.

“Last year, supported by the Government Equalities Hub, we launched STEM ReCharge in partnership with Career Returners, which aimed to support STEM professionals back to work in the North and Midlands. We also saw the support announced by the DWP to get over 50’s back to work.

“However, according to government statistics, there are currently 2.1 million people who are not working, largely due to caring responsibilities, 89% of whom are women.

“Many of these returners have a wealth of experience in skills short areas. Despite this, our research tells us that returners struggle to return, especially at the right level.

“This is a huge loss for employers, the economy and returners, and more needs to be done to stem this huge waste of talent. I welcome the general election and would urge the next Government to strengthen their support for returners, particularly around removing the barriers that make a career break so difficult to return from; it is after all, a completely normal part of many people’s career journey.”

We will be updating you with more reaction to the announcement as it comes in.

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