Chamber Leadership Election Meetings

Bradford Chamber Leadership Group – Notice of Election Meeting, Tuesday, 24 July 2018 at 11.45am

The following individuals have been nominated for election to the representative group of the Bradford Chamber:

  1. Andy Cook – Handelsbanken
  2. Nasreen Karim – Platinum Partnership Solicitors
  3. Rob Lawson – Provident Financial plc
  4. Jan Ormondroyd – Incommunities
  5. Ashley Price – Yorkshire Building Society
  6. Catherine Riley – Kirkgate
  7. Vicky Wainwright – Naylor Wintersgill


The Election Meeting will be held at 11.45pm at the Midland Hotel, Forster Square, Cheapside, Bradford, BD1 4HU followed by the President’s lunch in the hotel with David Baldwin, Chair of the Bradford Economic Partnership & Chief Executive of Burnley Football Club.  To book your place at the lunch please email or call Clare or Jess on 10274 206660.  Full details of the speaker are on the website.


Leeds Chamber Leadership Group – Notice of Election Meeting Thursday, 12 July 2018 at 11.45am

The following individuals have been nominated for election to the representative group of the Leeds Leadership Group:

  1. Mike Briffett – Turner & Townsend
  2. Paula Dillon – Womble Bond Dickinson
  3. Phil Forster – Leeds Bradford Airport
  4. Gerald Jennings – G R Jennings Properties Ltd
  5. David Maddison – Trinity Leeds
  6. Dan Murray – Leeds List
  7. Caroline Pullich – Barclays
  8. Mark Williams – Blue Logic


The election meeting will be held at 11.45am at the Oulton Hall, Leeds, and all current Leeds-based members are welcome to attend.



York & North Yorkshire Leadership Group – Notice of Election Meeting Wednesday, 4 July 2018 at 11.30am

The following individuals have been nominated for election to the representative group of the York & North Yorkshire Chamber Leadership Group:

  1. Marc Bichtemann – First York
  2. Mark Granger – Pavers
  3. Craig Scott – TSP Projects
  4. Robert Sword – Dawnay Estates
  5. Phil Look – HSBC Bank
  6. Mark Ronan – Pocklington School
  7. James Brennan – York Racecourse

The election meeting will be held at 11.30am at the York Racecourse, Racecourse Road, York, YO23 1EX. To book your place at the President’s Lunch, with David Kerfoot DL, founder of the Kerfoot Group and Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, please contact Caitlin Boylan on 01904 210010 or email her at


Development land to be debated at Bradford Property Forum

Businesses are invited to come along to the next Property Forum meeting in Bradford to discuss how the supply of employment land is crucial to the future success of the District’s economic strategy.

Senior business representatives from the property sector and Bradford Council staff responsible for planning and economic development will debate the issues and involve the audience in this hotly-contested topic.  Details are below.

Delivering Development for the District:  Is Space the Final Frontier?

Bradford Property Forum – 8am Tuesday 17 July, 2018

What:  How can the objectives of Bradford’s economic strategy be delivered without adequate land for development?

Why: This event ties together the Chamber’s recent report on the shortage of employment land with the District’s economic strategy, launched in March.  Key figures involved in both of these areas of activity will present, and others will be on hand to contribute from the floor.

Who: Marianne McCallum, Turley (and BPF Vice-Chair); Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw & Julian Jackson, Bradford Council; plus a business case study (TBC).  Short but relevant presentations will be made before a Q&A panel delves further into the issue.

When: 8-10am, Tuesday 17 July 2018 (breakfast from 8; the event is scheduled to end at 9.45)

Where: Great Victoria Hotel, Bridge St, Bradford BD1 1JX

Cost: £15 members, £30 non-members (inc. VAT)

If you’ve not yet seen the Chamber report (‘Creating Space for Future Success’), it can be found online here (hard copies may be available on request).

To book: Call 01274 206660 or email here


Senior councillors asked to approve plans to transform Leeds waterfront

Senior councillors in Leeds will be asked on June 27th to approve creating a new fund to help transform the waterfront of the city centre with culture being placed at the heart of its future.

The meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board to be held at Civic Hall on Wednesday 27 June will be asked to formally endorse the Waterfront Charter put forward by the Leeds Chamber of Commerce and partners earlier this year, which aims to help the waterfront area achieve its cultural and economic potential.

The key to its success is partnership working, with landowners along the River Aire through the city centre and South Bank being encouraged to sign up to the charter which would see all stakeholders commit to working together for the benefit of the waterfront area and city as a whole.

To support this approach, the council is proposing to establish a Waterfront Investment Fund of up to £100,000 which would offer grant funding for activities to enhance the waterfront by making it more accessible and attractive. The fund, which would be expected to begin later this year, would operate through a system whereby any successful bid would need to at least be match-funded by the applicants.

The plan would support the delivery of the council’s inclusive growth strategy through stimulating economic development, as well as the Cultural Strategy by making the most of public spaces and providing a platform for the 2023 cultural programme in the city.

Improving the attractiveness and maximising the potential of the waterfront and the surrounding riverside are also key elements of the South Bank framework, enhancing connectivity with the rest of the city centre as part of one of the largest regeneration schemes of its type in Europe.

The Waterfront Charter which has been led by the chamber of commerce and partners would see culture underpinning all development in the area. It would support local communities and celebrate their diversity, opening up possible venues and assets and rethinking public spaces into attractive and welcoming places where culture can thrive.


Tim Waring, Director at planning consultants Quod and Chair of the Chamber’s Waterfront Group, said:

“Following the publication of our Waterfront Report in March 2017, the chamber has been working with stakeholders to put into action the recommendations of the Report. This included the creation of a Waterfront Charter which we hope landowners, occupiers, developers and other stakeholders will sign up to, to say they will make their part of the waterfront an attractive and accessible space. With more development coming forward in South Bank Leeds, the river and canal network, will in the future be right in the heart of the city centre.  Over the past year or so, we have seen a good level of commitment to improving and activating the waterfront, and this has set a strong foundation for everybody with an interest in the waterfront, to take responsibility and respond to this ‘call to action’.

“We are hoping that more businesses (owners and occupiers) will commit to the charter and do their bit to make the waterfront a key part of our city. We are especially delighted to see Leeds City Council sharing our enthusiasm to bring about a waterfront which we can all be proud of. The proposal for a Waterfront Investment Fund is a tangible demonstration that, working together, we can move this agenda forward.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:

“The momentum is really building now in the South Bank area of the city centre, with families moving in, thousands of students learning there every day and major new businesses investing in the area. We are firmly committed to now looking at how we can maximise the opportunities offered on and alongside the River Aire, which running through the heart of our city is a wonderful natural asset which up to now has been underutilised as a resource to make our city more attractive, welcoming and prosperous.

“The Waterfront Charter and investment fund aims to change that by getting stakeholders and partners to all work together to transform the waterfront and its surroundings, importantly maintaining a people and community-first approach using culture as the key element underpinning all developments. We’d like to thank the chamber of commerce and partners for their excellent work leading the way to get us to this point. The potential of the waterfront is huge which is why this is such an exciting project for the local communities, all stakeholders and everyone in Leeds to benefit from.”

To see the executive board report go to – agenda item 10.

To download the Chamber Waterfront report click here

To view the Waterfront Charter click here



Housing forum launches ‘Liveability Leeds’

A new report sets out a call to action to ensure housing delivery supports economic growth in Leeds.

Established by the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Liveability Leeds brings together members of the housing development community from across the city, including Barratt & David Wilson Homes, Taylor Wimpey, Strata Homes, Rushbond, CEG, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, Shulmans, Spawforths and Newgate Communications.

Liveability Leeds: Delivering housing choice for the people of Leeds calls for a step change in housing delivery within Leeds and a greater focus on creating ‘liveable’ places. A call to action, the report sets out a series of recommendations for how the public/private sector and local communities can work together to see Leeds recognised as the best city in the UK.

  • Included among the recommendations in the report:
  • Greater recognition of the integral role housing plays in economic growth
  • For housing developers to work in partnership with and communicate more effectively to local communities to improve the quality of place making and ensure local communities benefit from new housing
  • Support from the industry for local employment initiatives and apprenticeships
  • For local communities to be open to dialogue with housing developers, be clear on community priorities and hold politicians and developers to account
  • Greater ambition within the emerging Core Strategy and Site Allocations Plan to ensure it is fully aligned with economic ambitions and will deliver the right type of housing in the right locations at the right time and with the right level of services and community infrastructure.
  • Ongoing support for City Centre and Inner Area housing development balanced with further growth in suburban and outlaying settlements to meet the full range of housing need and demand
  • Improvements to the planning application processes to give greater certainty and confidence for all involved
  • Ensure infrastructure requirements are considered early in the process and aligned with housing delivery
  • Ensure developer contributions to physical and social infrastructure are delivered to support local communities and that Developers and the Council communicate these benefits effectively and transparently.

David Rolinson, Chair of Spawforths and Liveability Leeds said:
“New housing supports and drives prosperity for everyone in Leeds. If we don’t collectively deliver the right kind of homes, in the right places this could mean that people are being priced out of the Leeds housing market and seriously threaten the city’s economic growth aspirations. However, this is about much more than housing numbers. We all have a role to play if we want to see Leeds recognised as the best city in the UK. We need to work in partnership to deliver great places and communities which will make Leeds a truly liveable city.”

Paula Dillon, President of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce said:
“Being ambitious around economic growth is not enough. There are various strategies designed to grow the Leeds economy but the importance of housing is rarely acknowledged in full. For Leeds to fulfil its potential and compete on a regional, national and global stage we must recognise the importance of housing to inclusive growth.”

The forum is urging all parties to work together to accelerate housing delivery and enhance the “liveability” of Leeds. With a focus on place-making and quality the liveability agenda is about creating places where people want to live. The forum is therefore committed to working with local communities to understand their needs and aspirations, to ensure that they benefit from new housing and that the places of the future match the way that people want to live.
Liveability Leeds has been working with the City Council to address constraints to housing delivery in Leeds since 2016. The forum is currently drawing up a ‘Planning Charter’ with the Council that will set out a code of good practice for delivery of growth in Leeds.

David Rolinson went on to say:
“We recognised very early on in the life of the forum, that we needed to re-build trust and respect around housing delivery in Leeds. It has become an antagonistic and legalistic process which has lost sight of the benefits of housing for the communities of Leeds. The Planning Charter will be a code of good practice which will secure a benchmark level of quality from both the development industry and the Council towards housing schemes.”

The Liveability Leeds report can be downloaded here

Brexit – Two Years On

Today marks the second anniversary since the historic vote upon our future membership of the European Union. Negotiations remain highly charged with some progress being made towards future working relations; here is an update and our assessment.

Where are we now?

The Backstop

EU proposal on backstop (in case of no solution on NI) is for NI only to stay part of Customs Union and relevant parts of the Single Market. UK proposal is to have the whole of the UK as part of the relevant parts of CU and SM – with an end date to this arrangement. EU has dismissed this approach

EU Withdrawal Bill

Ping-pong between Commons and Lords over the last two weeks over the EU Withdrawal Bill, with a focus on a ‘meaningful vote’. A compromise has now been reached and Government was not defeated – but it is unclear whether it will actually give MPs sufficient opportunity to amend the deal. Brexiteers consider a no-deal option to still be on the table.

Future customs arrangements

Cabinet is still deciding on its two options of a New Customs Partnership vs Highly Streamlined Customs Arrangement. Members’ views (gathered at a roundtable in Leeds in late 2017) along with those from the wider British Chambers’ network were shared at a meeting with Cabinet ministers this week

Unresolved issues

Some areas – such as regulatory alignment and VAT – have not even seen any proposals to date

EU Free Trade Agreements with third party nations

On cumulation, the European Commission issued a note stating it will not seek for UK+EU origin cumulation when exporting to FTA partners; there is  material threat that substitution of UK products will take place in the EU (UK suppliers replaced by EU suppliers in order to maintain  ‘Made in the EU’ status). Government continues to push for cumulation to ensure there is no damage to UK manufacturing companies

Migration / EU citizens

EU citizens and their families who have lived in the UK for at least five years will be eligible for a new “settled status” after Brexit

EU citizens who arrive in the UK before the end of December 2020 will be eligible for “pre-settled status,” a status that will convert to settled status after five years of continuous residence

The Migration Advisory Committee published an interim report in March 2018 sharing findings from its public consultation about future immigration policy. The final report will be published in September 2018 which will set out its recommendations  and will consider a wide range of impacts: on wages, unemployment, prices, productivity, training, the provision of public services, public finances, community cohesion and well-being.


What happens next?

EU Council Summit 28-29th June:

It is hoped the summit will progress on to talks about our future relationship

3/4 of the Withdrawal Agreement is done – except for personal data, Geographical Indicators, Ireland and governance

Chequers Away Day w/c 2nd July:

A decision on future customs arrangements is likely to be made

Government White Paper published w/c 9th July:

This should set out the Government’s vision for future relationship


Thoughts from the European Union

In our conversations we have picked up the following messages from EU representatives

EU businesses consider this to be largely a British problem but do see the UK as an attractive location to do business

A Northern Ireland backstop is acceptable; a UK-wide backstop is not

Extending the transition has to be written into the Withdrawal Agreement

It is difficult to find common language about the future

There will be a need to accelerate negotiations at some point

Strong hints for the UK to consider ‘Norway option’/EEA

No cherry picking of the ‘four freedoms’ continues to be the mantra coming from the European Commission


What should companies be thinking about now?

Intellectual Property

It is unclear whether trademarks registered in the EU would be applicable to the UK in the future. We are asking companies to check the ownership of their intellectual property


Some of the terms in existing contracts may no longer be relevant post Brexit, or may raise legal or practical questions in future. We are suggesting that companies should review contracts and check whether they make reference to the UK being a member state and whether contracts rely on EU regulation.

VAT registration in the EU

do companies need to set up a VAT registration in all of the EU countries they currently trade with

Import VAT

it is assumed that the UK will also leave the EU VAT area and therefore import VAT may be payable at the border on goods imported from the EU. There may be potential cash flow issues for smaller businesses

A comprehensive list of actions to consider can be found on our Brexit checklist here


Representing your views

Your views are shared with colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce who discuss with key government departments as part of their regular engagement programme

Members have been able to share their views in meetings held locally with Westminster and Whitehall representatives from:

Department for International Trade

Home Office

HM Revenue & Customs

HM Treasury

Department for Exiting the European Union

Brexit Select Committee

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy


We will continue to ensure your voice is heard on what will be the largest, peacetime economic event in recent history.

If you are interested in attending future meetings on this subject then please email

Leeds Architecture Awards Now Open For Entries

Nominations are sought for this year’s Architecture Awards. The aim of these awards is to give recognition to excellent, innovative and sustainable architecture, conservation and landscape in Leeds and to increase awareness and interest in the design of buildings and their surroundings.

The awards are jointly promoted by Leeds City Council and the Leeds Chamber Property Forum, in association with the Leeds Society of Architects, the Landscape Institute, the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and Leeds Civic Trust.

Download Application Form

Economic Forecast: Growth to weaken

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has today (Monday 18 June) slightly downgraded its growth expectations for the UK economy, forecasting GDP growth for 2018 at 1.3% (from 1.4%) which, if realised, will be the weakest calendar year growth since 2009, when the economy was in the throes of the global financial crisis. The BCC has also downgraded its GDP growth forecast for 2019 from 1.5% to 1.4%.

The downgrades have been largely driven by a more lacklustre outlook for consumer spending, business investment and trade. While real wage growth has returned to positive territory, the UK’s leading business group does not expect this to translate into materially stronger spending over the forecast horizon, with weak productivity expected to limit the extent to which wages will increase, and household finances are likely to remain stretched amid historically low household savings and high debt levels.

Business investment growth is expected to slow in 2018 to 0.9%, from 2.4% in 2017. The high upfront cost of doing business in the UK and the ongoing uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU are expected to continue to stifle business investment.

The UK’s net trade position is expected to weaken over the next few years by more than expected in the previous forecast. Exporters will struggle to recover the ground lost in the year so far, as growth in key markets moderates.

Growth in service sector output, a key driver of UK GDP growth, is expected to slow to 1.2% in 2018, which would be the weakest outturn since 2010. Consumer-focused industries such as retail and hospitality are expected to remain under the most pressure amid weak consumer spending.

If realised, the forecast suggests the economy is in a torpor, with uncertainties around Brexit, interest rate rises, and international developments such as a possible trade war and rising oil prices, all having an impact. The BCC urges the government to focus as much as possible on the domestic business environment, reducing the uncertainty that firms face, and take action on skills shortages and poor mobile connectivity, which lower productivity and hold UK businesses back.

Key points in the forecast:

  • UK GDP growth forecast for 2018 is downgraded from 1.4% to 1.3%, down from 1.5% to 1.4% in 2019, rising to 1.6% in 2020 (unchanged)
  • Quarter-on-quarter GDP growth is forecast to rise by 0.4% in Q2 2018, from 0.1% growth in Q1
  • Growth in household consumption for 2018 is expected to slow to 1.0%, before rising to 1.4% in 2019 and 1.7% in 2020
  • Inflation will continue to ease, but will not fall below the 2% target until 2020
  • The next interest rate rise, by 0.25%, is forecast to occur in Q4 2018, followed by a further increase to 1.0% in Q2 2019, with no further rises expected over the remainder of the forecast period
  • Average earnings growth will continue to slightly outpace inflation over the forecast period, with growth of 2.7%, 2.9%, and 3.0%, compared with inflation of 2.5%, 2.3%, and 1.9%
  • Export growth is expected to grow by 2.8% in 2018, 2.9% in 2019, and 2.9% in 2020. This compares with import growth of 1.7% in 2018, 2.5% in 2019, and 3.0% in 2020
  • Growth in the construction sector is expected to slow significantly in 2018, with 0.7% growth, compared to 5.7% in 2017. The sector picks up slightly in the remainder of the forecast period, with 1.3% and 1.5% in 2019 and 2020 respectively
  • Services sector growth is expected to slow to 1.2% in 2018, before picking up to 1.5% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020
  • Business investment is expected to remain weak, with growth across the forecast period of 0.9% in 2018, 1.2% in 2019, and 1.7% in 2020

Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, added:

“While the bad weather had a demonstrative impact on the economy in Q1 2018, the latest outlook suggests that the loss of momentum suffered by the UK in the first quarter is more than just a temporary soft patch, with UK growth forecast to remain well below its historic average for the foreseeable future unless action is taken.

“The downgrades to our forecast reflect a broad-based weakening in the outlook for key areas of the UK economy including consumer spending, business investment and trade. Consumer spending is expected to be more subdued over the near term from a combination of sluggish real wage growth and stretched household finances. Trading conditions for UK exporters are expected to become more challenging over the forecast period as growth in key markets start to moderate. Against this backdrop, the case for sustainable increases in interest rates continues to look rather weak.

“While Brexit uncertainty and the weakness in sterling have weighed on overall UK growth, it is the failure to deal with the longstanding structural issues from weak productivity to the deep imbalances in the UK economy that continue to undermine the UK’s growth potential.

“The risks to the outlook are on the downside. A messy departure from the EU would likely slow UK GDP growth further over the medium term. The prospect of an escalating trade war is now a key downside risk to our forecast as it could mean much weaker export and business investment growth than implied by the current forecast.”

10-point plan to reform apprenticeship levy

Developing workforce skills

The British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), has published a 10-point-plan aimed at government and business, to reform the Apprenticeship Levy system.

Upon publication of the plan, BCC said: “Addressing the growing skills gap is a joint responsibility for business, government and the education sector. Companies themselves must do more to invest in training, but to do that they need to be confident that the apprenticeship and training system is fit for purpose – particularly with regard to the apprenticeship levy and the implementation of new frameworks, where businesses have raised significant issues to government in recent months.”

The plan can be found online here.

Top transport officials meet with Chamber representatives

Chamber representatives have met with senior Department for Transport officials, including the Permanent Secretary, Bernadette Kelly CB.

The department’s Executive Committee (a team of top civil servants all based in Whitehall) were in West Yorkshire as part of a fact-finding mission to assist in their knowledge of relevant issues and support for ministers.  The meeting, chaired and hosted by Addleshaw Goddard’s Sara Gilmore, who heads up the Chamber Transport Group, received presentations on key transport issues for Bradford, Leeds and North Yorkshire from members.  The group also discussed better connectivity, the prospect for greater investment and the likelihood of devolution for the area.

Attendees included Leeds and York & North Yorkshire Vice-Presidents, Amanda Beresford and Andrew Digwood, Chamber Chairman Gerald Jennings and Chief Executive Sandy Needham.  Drax Power Management and Leeds Bradford Airport were also represented.

DfT meeting (L-R): Sandy Needham, Bernadette Kelly CB, Sara Gilmore

Ian Williams, for the Chamber’s policy team, said afterwards: “The Executive Committee were clearly in listening mode for the meeting although, as with most things these days, each and every transport project needs the most robust and vigorous business case for it to get a hearing.  Our members demonstrated the wider benefits of investment in transport, including social mobility and community cohesion, aswell as enhanced business productivity and economic growth.  The meeting was beneficial to both sides and we will continue to press our case to ministers on a number of projects we feel are needed to assist business growth.”

Aswell as stressing the need for better rail-freight connectivity via a renewed Skipton-Colne rail link, and improved surface access to the airport, the DfT officials heard the cases for a Northern Powerhouse Rail station in Bradford, a fully-costed and integrated HS2 city station, and the dualling of York’s Outer Ring Road (A1237).

Monthly Economic Review: June 2018

The Beating Heart of the Economy

The latest monthly economic review (June 2018), produced by the British Chambers of Commerce, is available to download here.

This month’s headlines are as follows:

•             UK GDP growth in Q1 2018 unrevised as business investment declines.

•             UK labour market remains a bright spot but productivity falls in Q1.

•             GDP growth slows in the US and the Eurozone as Japan’s economy contracts.

The four-page document illustrates inflation predictions, growth forecasts, and labour market highlights.