Bradford to host Tour de Yorkshire

Bradford is to be one of the host cities in next year’s Tour de Yorkshire.

This means that racing will either start or finish in the city on one of the three days.  The other hosts are Bridlington, Fox Valley (Sheffield), Harrogate, Scarborough and Tadcaster.

The event takes place on the last three days in April.  Read more here.

HS3 lobbying case continues

The Chamber is helping to step up the strong case for routing the high-speed trans-Pennine rail line through Bradford.

Bradford Chamber President, Andy Caton, is on today’s (Monday 31 Oct) front page and pages 2-3 of the Telegraph & Argus newspaper, extolling the virtues of bringing the line through the city, and is joined by a chorus of other stakeholder voices.

Andy said:

“A high-speed trans-Pennine rail link would bring the Northern Powerhouse concept to life.  Many people are currently struggling to see anything other than a politician’s idea and soundbite, so there is strong business support and lobbying to get this project off the ground.  To bring the line through Bradford would be a great success for the city.  East-West connectivity remains as important for many businesses as North-South and, with the M62 often creaking at full capacity, a new line here would be widely welcomed.  For Bradford, it would deliver an uplift in economic growth, create jobs, assist connectivity, boost investment and tourism, and there would also be wider benefits to the Leeds City Region.  There is a good advocacy document that has been produced by the Council that sets out a strong case for routing the line through the city, so we hope that Transport for the North is thumbing through it just now.”

Read the full T&A article here.

Bradford Chamber Annual Dinner

You can now book your places and tables for one of the key events of the business calendar, the Bradford Chamber Annual Dinner.

The event brings together key decision makers from some of the region’s most prominent businesses as well as other influential figures from the public sector.
Guests will hear from keynote speaker Edin Rahic, the new co-owner of Bradford City Football Club (with fellow co-owner Stefan Rupp to be confirmed) who will talk about their decision to invest in the Club and their experiences so far.

Comedy will be provided by broadcaster, chef and entertainer Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Dress code: Black tie.

Price: £84 including VAT per person.

Book your places now for individual places or tables of ten.  Register online, email Clare or call 01274 206660 to speak to the events team.

Find out how to export to Latin America

BUSINESSES wanting to export to Chile can get free face-to-face help when a Chilean market intelligence specialist visits West Yorkshire this month – thanks to Chamber International.

The Chilean-British Chamber of Commerce trade and promotion manager, Marcia Gattoni (pictured), will hold an export surgery for West Yorkshire businesses at Chamber International, Bradford, on Tuesday October 25.

The Chilean-British Chamber of Commerce, Santiago, is part of the UK’s Overseas Business Network Initiative (OBNi) launched to help boost UK exports and support  British companies seeking to do business in 41 global markets.

Chile, which has the highest per capita GDP in Latin America, has Free Trade Agreements with 64 countries and is part of the Pacific Alliance which comprises Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia –  the richest countries in the region.

Marcia Gattoni has spent seven years in market intelligence in Chile, analysing conditions for the entry of new products, identifying and following export trends, identifying trading partners for UK businesses, studying distribution channels, supporting product launches and arranging business delegations and market visits. Marcia is also an infrastructure and construction expert and is seeking companies with expertise in BREEAM and BIM to discuss commercial opportunities in Chile.

She says: “British goods and services already sell very well in Chile which is Britain’s second largest export market in Latin America. I have not visited Yorkshire before and look forward to meeting local businesses, learning more about the region’s strengths and export aspirations and its compatibility with the Chilean market to see how we can assist.”

Export adviser with Chamber International, David Attia, who organised the visit to Bradford, says: “We are very much looking forward to meeting Marcia Gattoni and learning from what she has to say. Given Chile’s importance in Latin American trade, we expect strong demand for meetings with her.

“Businesses wanting to take advantage of this valuable chance to learn more about exporting to Chile and how the Chile-British Chamber of Commerce can assist should get in touch to make appointments as soon as possible.”

Businesses wanting to arrange a free meeting with Marcia Gattoni at Chamber International on October 25, should contact Chamber International new account executive, Lydia Moi, tel: 01274-230058 ext 250 or email

Chamber International helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost effective each year and is exclusively partnered with London headquartered global testing organisation, Intertek, to assist with a wide range of issues including product conformity.

President calls for renewed rail commitments

Leeds Chamber President Gerald Jennings has penned an opinion piece in today’s (Friday 14 Oct) Yorkshire Post.

Gerald calls on the Government, in its upcoming Autumn Statement, to commit to much-needed investment in rail infrastructure for the North of England.  Stressing that building HS2 without HS3 would be pointless, he poses “Why not ‘Crossrail North’?” in reference to Transport for London’s influence in the capital.

Recognising the high cost of transport schemes, Gerald says that having to choose between new schemes or regional upgrades does not allow for looking at the big picture.

Read Gerald’s piece here.

Autumn Statement – Joint Response from GM and WNY Chambers

Chamber submission to Chancellor Philip Hammond


Two of the largest Chambers of Commerce in the north of England have come together to prepare a submission in advance of the 2016 Autumn statement. Greater Manchester and West & North Yorkshire Chambers have been increasingly working more closely on issues which effect businesses across the M62 corridor and beyond. 

Infrastructure and the ability to connect business with the labour market and customers is regularly cited as a concern by member companies and both Chambers would like to see commitment from the Chancellor to develop HS2 and HS3 (the proposed east -west high speed line connecting Liverpool to Hull and Newcastle via Leeds and Manchester), both developments will provide greater connectivity and capacity. In addition we need to see commitment to upgrading existing local and regional rail infrastructure to ensure commuter journeys are more pleasant and convenient in turn encouraging more people out of their cars.

The country’s future relationship with Europe will be a major source of concern given it currently makes up 52% of the north of England’s exports. Similarly, the Chambers have asked for clarity over the future of EU nationsla currently working in the north of England.

The submission goes on to request commitment to devolutions, skills and digital infrastructure; a copy of the full submission can be downloaded here


BCC appoints Adam Marshall as Director General

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is delighted to announce the appointment of Adam Marshall as its new Director General with immediate effect. Adam initially took on the role on an Acting basis following the resignation of John Longworth in March 2016, and was appointed to the role on a permanent basis following a robust recruitment process.

Adam has worked at the British Chambers of Commerce since July 2009, initially as Executive Director for Policy and External Affairs. Prior to joining, he helped start up the Centre for Cities organisation, built transatlantic industry-university links and worked in the broadcast media. He holds a BA from Yale University and MPhil and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge.

Announcing Adam’s appointment as Director General, Francis Martin, President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“Adam is the outstanding choice to lead the BCC, at a time when the views of business have never been more important. Adam has a detailed knowledge of the Chamber Network and a strong understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing Chamber members across the country. At a time of great political and economic uncertainty, I am confident that Adam has the ability and passion to enable the BCC to thrive under his leadership.”

Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, added:

“I am humbled and delighted to have the opportunity to lead the BCC team, and to speak up for Chambers and their many thousands of members all across the UK.”

“At this time of national transition and change, BCC will ensure that the diverse voices of business are heard – regardless of size, sector, region or nation. We will act to ensure that British businesses get every opportunity to grow and thrive, both here at home and across the world. And we will stand up for the many thousands of dedicated Chamber member companies who combine the best features of business and deep local commitment.”

National Economic Survey Results

The latest national Quarterly Economic Survey results show a mixed picture, with an improved short-term performance in the manufacturing sector set against a further slowdown in growth in the services sector.

The British Chambers of Commerce survey – the first since the EU referendum – shows that manufacturers enjoyed improved domestic and export sales compared with the previous quarter, with some benefitting from sterling’s recent fall. Meanwhile, the balance of service sector firms reporting improved domestic and export sales was at the lowest level seen since 2012.  The survey’s results suggest that the UK economy is still growing – albeit at a lower level than before the referendum – and supports the BCC’s forecast for growth of 1% in 2017.

NOTE: The West & North Yorkshire results will be published on Thursday 13 October.

The survey suggests that near-term uncertainty following the vote to leave the European Union has led businesses to lower their expectations for hiring, turnover, and investment in plant, machinery, and training.

As a result, the BCC is urging the government to use next month’s Autumn Statement to boost business confidence – by giving the green light to key infrastructure projects, and by introducing measures that ‘crowd in’ business investment and job creation.

Key findings in the Q3 2016 survey:
• Overall, figures for manufacturing and services indicate growth, but at a slower pace than pre-referendum
• In manufacturing, the balance of firms reporting improved exports rose to +17, from +9 .
• The balance reporting an increase in advance orders is +12, up from +5. One factor may be the fall in sterling, which has made some UK manufacturers more competitive.
• Domestically, the balance of manufacturers reporting increased sales rose to +13 from +9, although those reporting increased advance orders fell slightly, to +7 from +9
• In the last three months, the balance of manufacturers hiring more staff rose three points to +15 from +12, although in the services sector the number fell five points to +14 from +19
• Fewer firms in both sectors expect to take on staff in the next year. For services the balance for firms (+15, down 13) is the lowest since Q1 2013
• In the services sector, many balances saw a decrease on the previous quarter
• The balance of services firms reporting improved domestic sales fell sharply to +9 from +24, while the advance orders balance fell from +20 to +8 – indicating a significant slowing of growth
• On services exports, the balance of firms reporting improved sales fell from +11 in Q2 to +8 in Q3 2016, while the balance of firms reporting an increase in advance orders fell further, from +13 to +5
• Firms in both sectors have reported that the exchange rate is a greater concern to their business than three months ago, with 30% of services businesses (up from 15%) and 48% of manufacturers (up from 35%).

Commenting, Dr Adam Marshall of BCC, said:
“While many manufacturers have seen something of a bounce this summer, the UK’s services sector has slowed significantly, and our data suggests that slower growth is likely in the months ahead. Although it is important not to take one quarter’s figures in isolation, our survey does show that growth has slowed further since the EU referendum. Boosting business must be a key task for government in the months ahead, particularly as forward confidence on turnover and profitability has flagged for firms across the UK.

“The Prime Minister has given businesses some clarity on the timetable for Article 50, and on short-term regulatory and legal issues. This is helpful, but needs to be followed up by a firm demonstration that the government has a clear and coherent strategy to defend the UK’s economic and business interests in the negotiations that lie ahead.
“Firms are concerned over investment, hiring, and profitability. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is a crucial opportunity to incentivise business investment and overseas trade. Final and irrevocable decisions on infrastructure projects, both big and small, would also boost business confidence and support investment all across the UK.”

Businesses may be forced to publish foreign worker numbers

Companies could be forced to publish the number of foreign workers that they employ, as part of proposals outlined by Amber Rudd in her Conservative Party conference speech.

Unveiling a new net migration target of “tens of thousands, not the hundreds of thousands”, the home secretary said the Government would look to tighten the test companies have to take before recruiting from abroad.

“The test should ensure people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do,” said Rudd.

Read more on ‘Personnel Today’ here.