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Date: 01/04/2016

This week’s policy update looks at Brexit and the economy, Tata Steel and an upcoming Brexit Debate in May.


  1. BCC: Case for further government action to protect British Steelmaking
  2. Bank of England warns of EU Referendum risks
  3. Planning application approved for Phase 5 of Malvern Hills Science Park
  4. Invitation to Brexit Debate sponsored by mfg Solicitors

1. BCC: Clear case for further government action to protect British steelmaking capacityThe BCC have called on the government to protect British steelmaking capacity and to not make the same mistake it made with the nuclear industry decades ago.

Late on Tuesday Tata Steel announced it plans to sell the UK steel business which currently employs 15,000 people across the UK. The company have said that they need to cut their losses in the UK, where in the last five years they have lost £2bn, citing that the steel business in the UK had become a “burden for the company.”

Following pleas from Business Minister Anna Soubry to take time to find a buyer and continue employment, Tata steel have said it could not give an “open ended” commitment to keep the UK plants open while a buyer was sought.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has said that while the steel industry is vital to the country, he doesn’t think that nationalisation is the answer. He has reinstated the governments view to keep the Port Talbot plant open, however other Tata Steelworks such as Rotherham, Corby and Shotton haven’t been mentioned and their fate looks gloomy.

Adam Marshal, Acting Director General at the BCC, 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.” 

2. Bank of England warns of EU Referendum risks

The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee says the outlook for financial stability has deteriorated since November, with the “most significant” risk connected to the EU referendum.

It cities the period of uncertainty could reinforce existing vulnerabilities and could affect the cost and availability of financing for a broad range of UK borrowers with sterling being forced lower. The Bank also stated that it wouldn’t just affect the UK economy, but “could spill over into the euro area” affecting growth and markets.

However Conservative MP John Redwood, has questioned the assessment saying “international investors have been quite relaxed about the possibility of Brexit” and that while polls have been steering in favour of a Brexit “interest rates have come down a little bit and we have seen a lot of inward investment.”

The debate continues... 

3. Planning application approved for £4m Phase 5 of Malvern Hills Science Park

Technology companies will benefit from an additional £4m investment into Malvern Hills Science Park as phase 5 planning consent has been approved.

The investment builds on the success of the Science Park, which is already home to a significant cluster of IT and Cyber Security companies as well as the National Cyber Skills Centre.

The new building will provide 16,000 sq.ft. of floor space which will be available to new companies or existing tenants seeking to grow their business.

Gary Woodman, Executive Director for the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), commented:
“It is great news as this is a vital employment site in south Worcestershire, and is already home to an impressive and significant cluster of cyber, IT and defence companies. Now consent has been granted, work can continue at pace and provide further space for local business to grow as well as attract further companies from this high-priority growth sector.” 

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. Other speakers to be announced in the run up to the event include; a guest speaker from Britain Stronger in Europe, MPs and MEPs and local business leaders.

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.