In these times of EU transition and the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 evidenced the fact that our business community sees an organisation like Thames Valley Chamber as one of the region’s anchor institutions. The business partnership is based on dual objectives – to develop and deliver outstanding services, and to play a part in the growth and development of our regional economy.
On 10th December 2020 we published our Business Manifesto for 2021. The fourth annual statement of its kind, it sets out the opportunities and challenges our membership want to champion and which we believe will have the most impact. It commits the Chamber, a politically neutral organisation, to lead, support and campaign for a programme of activity across the region in 2021.
We set out four main priorities, on which the Chamber will focus:
Resilient Infrastructure Networks: Promote the need for investment in a resilient infrastructure network for the Thames Valley, strengthening provision of physical and digital networks that will support the region’s future sustainable economic growth and innovation.
Low-Carbon, Green Economy: Be an advocate for in-region excellence and thought leadership, supporting the greater awareness and understanding of the steps we all need to take for a more sustainable, low carbon, green future for the Thames Valley.
EU Exit Transition: Use the Chamber’s experience to provide our businesses community with relevant support and practical information as Britain transitions out of the EU and to lobby Government to ensure frictionless trade, investment and freedom of movement for the workforce.
Restart, Rebuild, Renew: Continue to support initiatives that will Invest in the Success of the region, its productivity and the wider levelling up agenda, and the “Restart, Rebuild, Renew” of the UK and Thames Valley economy, post COVID-19.
These priorities are framed by the following six core themes that inform, influence and shape our vision and wider programme of work and events across the region and at the local level.
Business Manifesto Advisory Group (BMAG)
The BMAG acts as a scrutiny and review body, overseeing progress on the delivery of the Chamber’s annual Business Manifesto.
Chaired by an established and leading figure from business, the BMAG meets three times a year with agendas themed around the Business Manifesto’s main priorities. Reflecting on these and the wider issues affecting the Thames Valley and the prevailing political landscape, the BMAG continues to attract senior figures, Government representatives and business leaders as speakers and contributors.
BMAG dates and themes for 2021:
21st April: EU Exit Transition
14th July: Low-Carbon, Green Economy
20th October: Resilient (Digital and Physical) Infrastructure Networks
Our most recent virtual BMAG took place on 22nd October 2020, on the theme of ‘The Role of Compassionate Leaders in Mental Wellbeing’. We heard from guest speakers: Rt Hon. Theresa May MP, Adam Marshall, Director General British Chambers of Commerce and Chris Stewart, MD of Minding Minds. We are pleased to share the recording, HERE. To continue providing a responsive and effective mental wellbeing strategy, the Chamber has launched its new Mental Wellbeing Charter.
On 15th July 2020 we held our first virtual BMAG: “Restart – Rebuild – Renew” – moving towards a new normal for business. Our keynote speaker, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, President of the British Chambers of Commerce, presented on the phased reopening of the economy (Restart), building resilience for firms and households (Rebuild) and the return to prosperity and growth (Renew).
During the BMAG, our businesses raised the need for:
Consistent messages coming out of Government to ensure business are not only ‘doing business again’ but can ‘get back to growing’ their business and therefore the UK economy.
Clearer statements around BREXIT and addressing some of the outstanding key challenges that remain.
An unambiguous commitment from government to invest and deliver Western Rail Link to London Heathrow ‘now’.
Investment in the successful regions of the UK (including the Thames Valley) as the driver of the economic recovery.
Building public confidence to use public transport again with greater emphasis on the ‘safer travel message’.
Strengthening the policy focus of the Group, there is capacity to set up a small number of topic-based task and finish working groups. This includes our Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH) working-group and proposals, in 2020, for those covering resilient infrastructure and mental health, diversity and inclusion.
To learn more about the BMAG and its work, please contact Jess Harrison
Western Rail Link to London Heathrow (WRLtH)
Drawing on the expertise and experience of senior infrastructure and engineering companies within membership, this working group is leading the Chamber’s engagement with Government, key stakeholders and other key partners associated with delivering the project. Providing an informed steer and project guidance, representatives of the group have met the Secretary of State, lobbied Government officials and their agencies, written to MPs and both mobilised and supported partners helping deliver the project.
In the Context of the unprecedented challenges facing the UK economy, the WRLtH working group continues to update its key messages and communication strategies.
Other activities include; promoting the ‘elevator-pitch’ to the project benefits; lobbying the BCC and other accredited Chambers across the South and South West of England and South Wales to pull together behind the project, and supporting our key partners (e.g. Thames Valley Berkshire LEP) to ensure a consistent, uniform approach is being taken.
TVCC is actively seeking Statements of Support for WRLtH from businesses to present to government. Please visit our WRLtH page for a template letter and for more information about the project.