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Date: 21/04/2016

This week’s policy update looks at the Queen's Awards for Exporting and Innovation, Tata Steel and the Chancellor's borrowing target.

1. Local businesses celebrate Queen's 90th Birthday with Queens Award for International Trade & Innovation
2. UK ready to take stake in Tata Steel
3. Chancellor misses borrowing target
4. Brexit Debate sponsored by mfg Solicitors

1. Local businesses celebrate Queen’s 90th Birthday with Queens Awards for International Trade & Innovation

Five Worcestershire Businesses are celebrating her Majesty’s 90th birthday with Queen’s Awards for International Trade or Innovation.

Winsted Ltd, Orchard Valley Foods and Kudos Blends Ltd have all been awarded the honour for International Trade, and both PCA Predict and Greenlighting won the awards for innovation today on the 21 April 2016

The announcement comes during Exporting is GREAT week (18 – 22 April) where UK Trade & Investment West Midlands is holding nine events across the regions to inspire local companies to grow their business overseas.

Mike Ashton, Chief Executive of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“These are great businesses and I’m delighted to see local companies being recognised for all their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. The two counties are full of innovative businesses and I would urge businesses, particularly in Herefordshire, considering exporting to get involved, perhaps you may win a Queen’s Award in 2017!”


2. UK ready to take stake in Tata Steel

The government have announced today that they are willing to take a 25% stake in any rescue of Tata Steel’s UK operations which are currently losing about £1m a day.

The Business department has said it is preparing a support package “worth hundreds of millions of pounds” available to potential buyers. However Business Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that the government wouldn’t be taking control over the business and the money would solely be commercial.

In addition to the stake, the UK and Welsh government have said they will consider additional grant funding support and that they will be working with the pension scheme trustees to minimise any pension impact on the purchaser.

Dr Adam Marshall, BCC Acting Director General, said:

“Assuring domestic production of steel is hugely important to the UK’s future growth prospects and to our aspirations for the manufacturing and construction sectors, which are having a hard enough time in an uncertain global market as it is... The loss of steelmaking would leave the UK vulnerable to global shocks, with dangerous consequences across the economy.”


3. Chancellor misses borrowing target

The government borrowed £74bn in the year to March 2016, £1.8bn more than George Osborne’s borrowing target.

However the annual borrowing figure was £17.7bn less than the previous year, the decrease was mainly down to a £20.4bn fall in central government net borrowing.

Public sector net borrowing, excluding public sector banks, at the end of March 2016 was 83.%% of GDP.

The Chancellor has pledged to get the UK to a budget surplus by 2020, with OBR predicting a surplus of £10.4bn in 2019 – 2020 and £11bn the following year.

Read more here.

David Kern, BCC Chief Economist, commented:

“Despite a welcome improvement in public finances in March, and further gradual progress expected in the year ahead, our view is that the return to a budget surplus may take a little longer than the OBR predicted.”


4. Brexit Debate sponsored by mfg Solicitors

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce would like to invite you to join us at our Brexit Debate sponsored by mfg Solicitors on Thursday 12 May, 16.30 – 18.30 at mfg Solicitors, Kidderminster.

Join us to listen and ask questions to a leading panel of speakers, including Johnnie Arkwright, Chair of Britain for Business West Midlands and owner of Hatton Countryworld, Malcolm Harbour CBE representing Britain Stronger in Europe and Mark Garnier MP for the Wyre Forrest.

According to a recent snap poll Chamber membership is split over whether we should stay in or leave the EU. This is the opportunity to get your questions answered personally by politicians and both sides of the campaign. We hope to see you there.

Book your FREE place here.