East Midlands Chamber unveils new manifesto for region at Westminster

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles

Improvements to taxation, infrastructure and skills – alongside reform of the planning system – are among key asks that will be handed to the government and MPs on Monday (March 11) in a new manifesto from East Midlands Chamber.

Under the proposals taxation and regulation would see reforms to make them simpler, transport would benefit from electrification of the Midland Main Line and upgrades to key road networks, while acceleration of full-fibre broadband roll-out across the East Midlands would boost digital growth.

The document also identifies the ‘Big Opportunity’ for the East Midlands – to develop the region as a centre for the future of energy production, storage and provision.

Hosted by Nigel Mills MP, co-chair of the East Midlands All Party Parliamentary Group, alongside East Midlands Chamber president Stuart Dawkins and chair of the board Kevin Harris, and with a delegation of regional business leaders in attendance, the event at 1pm today in Westminster will mark the official launch of the Manifesto for Growth 2024.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive, Scott Knowles, said: “This document is the culmination of in-depth engagement with our members. It builds upon our core themes of innovation, infrastructure, international trade and investment, making specific recommendations in four areas: skills reform for the reality of today’s workforce; transport and infrastructure that is fit for purpose; developing a taxation and regulation regime that is aligned with a long-term vision for the country; and how we fix the broken planning system.

“We’re also really excited to be presenting our Big Opportunity, to create a centre for the future of energy production, storage and provision in the East Midlands. We’ve already had some exciting recent developments in this space, including the STEP fusion plant development in West Burton, the Freeport’s ambitions for the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station site and the work Rolls-Royce are doing on Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.

“A vision of the future where the East Midlands is exporting the products, processes and people that can deliver Net Zero is absolutely possible, and it’s essential that we get the right policy support from Government to unlock that opportunity.”

Chris Hobson, the Chamber’s director of policy & insight, added: “We might not know when a General Election will be called, but it’s a certainty that it will at some point in the next ten months. With economic growth still precarious after several disruptive years, it’s a critical time to release this Manifesto that outlines the things businesses have told us they need for those that live and work in the East Midlands to be successful.

“This isn’t a zero sum game. If we get this right we all win. And the policy environment in which we operate is a key enabler to helping us get this right. Whoever is leading the country, businesses themselves will continue to do what they’ve always done: looking to develop opportunities, open new markets and maximise the materials they have and circumstances they are in to be successful.”