Launching the 2022/23 Chamber Business Manifesto

The recent Economic Conference included the launch of the Chamber Manifesto for 2022/2023.  The Manifesto outlines activities that the Chamber will undertake to represent the interests and address the challenges faced by our Membership. These challenges have been identified as a result of 12 months of research through the Quarterly Economic Survey and hundreds of consultations conducted by our Membership team.

The six key drivers with some headline activity are;

Business Growth

This section was called Covid Recovery last year – Business Growth is more appropriate as we try to emerge from a Covid world. To facilitate this the Chamber will deliver a series of industry, and county specific events, two Expo‘s, continue the re-launch of the Growth Forum, and stage regular networking opportunities for new connections to be made. Signposting to funding opportunities and promotion of activities and initiatives through Chamber Comms will further encourage growth. This will be challenging however as 12 months ago 72% of businesses surveyed predicted turnover growth in the year ahead, most recently surveyed this figure has fallen to 65%.

Business Costs

In recent QES’s 63% of businesses have expressed concern about increasing energy costs. 42% of businesses were experiencing supply chain delays and 21% cited changes to import and export regulations as a cost pressure. As a Chamber we will actively seek Members feedback in this area so that we can, through the BCC, lobby and highlight to central government the challenges at local level. We will also continue to share best practice through events such as the Manufacturing Forum and where possible highlight funding and schemes that will help ease burden of riding costs.


This section was referred to as Skills last year. but there is more to this section, possibly our most important asset, than training and development and as such we have widened the subject.  We will be connecting business with education and in turn preparing our future workforce. 49% of businesses reported recruitment would be a key challenge in the year ahead, and 39% of businesses viewed retention of existing workforce as a challenge. This is why in our activities moving forward we will champion workplace wellbeing, mental health awareness, and encourage equality and diversity.

International Trade

The importance of international trade cannot be underestimated in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.  Be it food and drink to heavy machinery, businesses in the counties are contributing to local and national prosperity. But – 42% of businesses report supply chain issues as a barrier to trade. At the same time, 34% of importers/exporters reported regulation and documentation as a problem. This is where relations with the Chamber’s documentation team, ongoing liaison with DiT, and the provision of international trade training will be a vital support service for Members and customers.


Technology was in the manifesto last year, rightly so as business strives to make processes more efficient and use tech to do so. BUT, this year, there is an emphasis on one critical area of technology – Cyber Security.  Even today there is a higher risk of cyber-attack from foreign parties, but prevention is certainly better than cure! Equally, as business adopts more technology, our schools and colleges need to work with business to ensure curriculum matches need and the Chamber’s contribution to the Skills White Paper will ensure this is made possible.


Sustainability and climate change could not be more important in terms of business growth and general wellbeing.  The Chamber, along with local LEP’s, and of course local councils have been driving the green agenda forward in recent years and will continue to do so. In recent surveys.  24% of companies reported pressure from clients to become greener.  28% of companies see use of more sustainable energy as a key action, and most interestingly, 68% of businesses requested more information on funding to help the process. As a result, and reassuring that this is the case, the Chamber will continue to deliver the BEEP and LoCOP programmes and run Sustainability Forums in conjunction with these programmes. At the same time the Chamber’s sustainability hub, sitting on the website, will complement activities around the Herefordshire Citizens Climate Change Assembly, and Worcester’s Zero Carbon Objectives.

Read the Manifesto here.