Business West, the not-for-profit that nurtures local businesses and lobbies on their behalf, is launching its own election manifesto a week before the city goes to the polls to set out what Bristol business wants from the next government.
Unsurprisingly, Brexit comes first, in a demand that firms across the region can trade tariff-free with continental Europe, and that this is complemented by a ‘pragmatic immigration regime’ and a ‘stable regulatory framework and equivalence of standards with the EU’.
But Phil Smith, MD of Business West, is also urging the region’s candidates to ‘think beyond Brexit’ and consider problems such as ‘longstanding infrastructure challenges, skills productivity and gaps and the housing crisis’.
As such, the manifesto prioritises the importance of digital connectivity such as access to superfast broadband, and the need to invest in infrastructure, science, research and innovation. It demands a success of the £900m devolution deal in the West of England and an increase in international trade.
Emphasis, it continues, must be placed on education to ensure that young people leave school or university ‘work-ready’, on ‘new long term, integrated transport strategies’, and lastly on boosting planned levels of housing ‘such that it has a meaningful impact on affordability’.
The full manifesto can be found on Business West’s website at www.businesswest.co. uk/resources/business-manifesto-2017.