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BCC Policy Update

BCC Weekly Update 20th February 2017

News and events

  • BCC Meeting Activity

Last week Adam Marshall travelled to Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber and Business West. BCC's Head of Public Affairs, Ashley Shackleton, attended a roundtable meeting with Brexit Minister, David Jones MP. 

This week Adam meets Business Secretary Greg Clark MP, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP, and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, Denzil Davidson.

  • BCC Annual Conference

There’s only a week left until the BCC Annual Conference on 28th February – still time to book last minute tickets!

Hear from influential political personalities, business leaders and opinion formers on the most significant issues affecting the UK business community, focusing on three key themes:

Growing Business in the Regions and Nations

Brexit: Turning Uncertainty into Opportunity

Keeping the UK Competitive – vision 2030

Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP (Manchester Mayoral Labour Candidate), Lucy Winskell (Chair, North East England Chamber of Commerce), Rt Hon Greg Clark MP (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Rt Hon John McDonnell MP (Shadow Chancellor) will be giving their insights on important policy issues such as transport, infrastructure planning and how devolution can power regional and national business growth.

There will also be an opportunity to join a special lunchtime session on how businesses can benefit from the new open water market, hosted by Ofwat and CCwater.

To read more about our other key themes, see our programme here

  • QES fieldwork is underway

The fieldwork for the Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for Q1 2017 will begin today and run until 13th March. The QES is the largest and longest-running business survey in the UK and is a powerful tool for representing the voice of business to Government. To retain its reputation as a reliable economic indicator and a powerful tool for lobbying, it is vital as many businesses as possible respond to it.

At the national level, it’s a leading indicator – often picking up big changes in the economy long before other surveys or official statistics:

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee uses the QES as one of its key benchmarks when setting interest rates.

HM Treasury and the independent Office for Budget Responsibility use the QES to put together their forecasts for the UK’s economic performance.

The European Commission uses the QES to assess the health of the UK economy when it makes policy recommendations for both Westminster and Brussels.

The survey takes around 2 minutes to complete and can be accessed here. Please feel free to forward out this link to your contacts. The previous QES results can be found here. If you have any queries, please contact David Bharier

  • Auto-enrolment - Don’t leave it too late and get fined

The BCC has partnered with Aviva to run a series of free webinars aimed at helping small businesses prepare for pension auto-enrolment and avoid the risk of getting fined by the Pensions Regulator.

In this free webinar businesses will find out:

Why was auto-enrolment introduced?

How can it benefit your business?

Planning for auto-enrolment

What help is available?

The first webinar in the series takes place tomorrow, on Tuesday 21st February, from 1pm – 1:30pm. Chamber members can book their free place on this webinar by clicking here

  • Brexit briefings

International law firm Bird & Bird has published a collection of online briefings on Brexit. Since the EU referendum, these briefings have been updated regularly and document both practical and potential implications, sector by sector and across the main areas of business law.

Bird & Bird is attuned to the complexities of its UK and international client base and will continue to publish briefings as the firm advises and guides its clients through the transition. The firm's Partners are closely involved in various industry associations and regularly address conference on Brexit issues.

Click here to read the briefings or to get in touch with Bird & Bird's Brexit team, based at their flagship London office.

Bird & Bird has over 1200 lawyers in 28 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as close ties with firms in other parts of the world. To find out more, visit

  • Apprenticeship Service

Businesses are being encouraged to register for the Apprenticeship Service ahead of the introduction of the government’s reforms in April. The service will help companies invest in the skills and training they need. Registered businesses will be able to access their apprenticeship funding and control how it is spent. You can set up your account here, and if you have any questions email here

  • National Apprenticeship Week World Record

This year is the 10th National Apprenticeship Week, and as part of the celebrations, a world record attempt is scheduled to take place during the week, on 7th March 2017. The aim is to set the Guinness World Record for the largest online careers advice seminar ever.

Introduced by Robert Halfon, the Minister for Apprenticeships, and combining commissioned films by, and with apprentices, plus live Q&A from expert advisors, the webinar will be focused on career options including apprenticeships. You can register for the webinar here.

  • Unlocking the Potential of Primary Authority

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a public consultation on implementing the provisions in the Enterprise Act 2016 that simplify and extend Public Authority to make it easier for more businesses to participate. They are also seeking views on moving to a system where a partnership covers all of the regulatory functions that a local authority can offer. The consultation can be found here, and is open until 7th April 2017. 

  • AXA Blog
  • AXA PPP healthcare, who are supporting our upcoming Annual Conference, have a new blog talking about the importance of building resilience in the workplace to help businesses thrive in a competitive environment. Their piece can be read here

BCC National Media Highlights this week

  • Business rates were the story of the week, with BCC’s calls for action being picked up across the national papers, including the Telegraph, Guardian, City AM and Financial Times. Adam Marshall was on LBC this morning discussing the issue. 
  • BCC’s comments on inflation were covered by the Financial Times, City AM and the Independent
  • BCC’s comments on labour market statistics were picked up by the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Daily Express. 

Economic Update

CPI inflation stood at 1.8% in January 2017, up from the 1.6% rise in December. The main contributors to the increase in the rate were rising prices for motor fuels, and to a lesser extent, food prices.

The latest UK labour market figures revealed that in the three months to December 2016, the number of people in employment rose by 37,000. Unemployment declined by 7,000 over the same period. The claimant count in January 2017 fell by 42,400 compared with December 2016. UK retail sales fell by 0.3% in January 2017, but were up by 1.5% in annual terms. Average store prices rose by 1.9% compared with January 2016.

For more information, please contact Suren Thiru