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We are a partnership of the five Chambers of Commerce in the South West that are accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce – Business West, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Devon Chamber of Commerce, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Somerset Chamber of Commerce. We provide a regional voice to the business community we represent, seek to improve and support the South West economy and promote the region as a great place to do business.
The aim of BCCSW is to provide a regional voice on regional business issues and by using our combined resources, membership and influence, lobby effectively for a fairer deal for the South West across a range of strategic issues while adding additional value to our members.
The South West is an excellent place to do business and provides an attractive commercial environment with its rich mix of vibrant commerce and natural assets with diverse and dynamic communities offering exceptional opportunities and a great work/life balance. BCCSW believes that the region can do even better and prosper with the appropriate focus. The following position statements highlight where that focus should lie:
1) BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS
BCCSW works in partnership with the public and private sector to ensure that businesses have the support and environment they need to grow and prosper. Accredited chambers of commerce are the organisations to coordinate business support as they are connected with local businesses of all sizes and understand local need.
Physical: BCCSW supports connectivity to improve productivity. The physical infrastructure is not good enough. BCCSW seeks improved investment in the road, rail and air network to provide a robust infrastructure across the South West that is resilient and offers flexibility for strategic growth. This infrastructure must include designated employment land. Digital (including mobile and broadband): Business requires adequate connectivity and coverage, both in rural and city areas, for 21st Century organisations to grow, which is especially important in the context of the burgeoning digital economy which is a major strength in the South West and has huge potential.
3) DIGITAL BUSINESSES
The region is best placed to recruit into and operate digital businesses which already form a major part of the local economy. All businesses need to understand and invest in innovative and disruptive technologies, embracing change to be modern, efficient and productive.
There is a national skills shortage and the region has a proportionately high reliance on migrant labour, which is especially difficult in the context of Brexit. It is important to attract and retain good businesses and talent in the region. It is essential that education institutions prepare people adequately for work with employability and life skills. Chambers are working hard to link business, education and training together in a meaningful way that provides a flexible and agile workforce that is fit for the future and for jobs that may not yet exist.
Adequate and affordable housing stock for local people that provides a balance between wealth migrating to the region and local business needs is essential to attract and retain skilled and key workers to enable growth.
6) INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Chambers of commerce are the go-to organisations for international trade and are recognised globally as trusted networks that support, encourage and promote trade and open new markets for our members. Encouraging supply chains and building capacity, combined with appropriate infrastructure, enables growth and increases productivity. We will continue to campaign hard to enable frictionless trade as the situation around Brexit develops.
7) ENVIRONMENT (CLEAN ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY)
The South West provides a unique, attractive and asset-rich environment that has attracted businesses at the cutting edge of energy generation. There are excellent opportunities for the South West to be the UK centre of clean and sustainable energy solutions and BCCSW will support those aspirations while striking a balance between preserving the natural beauty of the environment and the needs of business.
8) POLICY AND LEGISLATION (INCLUDING BUSINESS RATES AND REGULATION)
BCCSW encourages simplified regulation and policies that reduce bureaucracy and the hidden costs of doing business. Business should be engaged and consulted before setting any policy or regulation that affects them. The business rates system should be fair and proportionate and recognise the changing environments in which business is conducted.