The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has said it welcomes a new wave of funding for greener transport and adult education amid the continued concerns over the shortage of skilled staff.
The BCC said in the run up to the UK budget on Wednesday the funding in the country’s infrastructure and businesses needed to be maintained as the UK emerges from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reacting to news of a £7 billion pot of money for transport investment, Claire Walker, Co-Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s great to see the Chancellor recognise the importance of local infrastructure in driving our economy forward and levelling up communities across the country.
“This investment will be a welcome boost toward that goal and will also be vital in achieving our net zero targets by funding more efficient, reliable and greener public transport.
“Chambers of Commerce have also long argued for flexible fares and simplified ticketing, but we really need those delivered at pace to make a difference. Critical to making all of this work is delivering HS2 in full.”
The ongoing staff shortages continue to hit businesses of all sized and news that there is to be additional funding for adults to improve their maths, was welcomed by Jane Gratton, head of People Policy at the BCC.
“We welcome this as a positive step to improve adults’ access to the training they desperately need to be able to apply for higher skilled jobs,” she said. “With more than one million vacancies currently available much more needs to be done to close the skills gap and improving numeracy sits at the very heart of that.
“This programme also addresses one of the key asks of the Workplace Training and Development Commission report, instigated by the BCC, for more bite-size skills training to address people’s needs.
“But solving the UK’s skills crisis will not happen overnight and will also require coordinated effort across business, government and the skills sector. Local Skills Improvement Plans, currently being piloted, offer a real opportunity to match business need and local training for the longer term.”
The BCC has also thrown its support behind the creation of a new Global Britain Investment Fund.
“Boosting inward investment into the UK can provide the foundations for our future economic prospects for many years,” said Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC. “There are many businesses involved in the development of innovative, green and cutting-edge goods and services that could benefit from this funding.
“To maximise its effectiveness, we need to need to look at incentivising inward investment across the UK, including addressing the escalating cost of doing business in the UK, increasing access to finance and improving physical and digital connectivity.”