Chamber asks new PM to tackle nuclear new build

Boris Johnson should commit to a “clear UK energy strategy” to deliver a nuclear power station in West Cumbria.

That was one of 15 demands made by the British Chambers of Commerce to the new Prime Minister after he assumed office in July.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Theresa May’s government made a pledge to create a zero-carbon economy by 2050 but left us with an energy policy in disarray.

“Lack of clarity on funding led to the collapse of plans for nuclear power stations at Moorside in Cumbria and Wylfa in Wales. Drawing up a clear energy strategy must be a priority.

“The recent power cuts that affected great swathes of the country and brought chaos to the railways show just how fragile our energy infrastructure is. We neglect it at our peril.”

The British Chambers’ other demands include avoiding a “disorderly” no-deal Brexit, investing in infrastructure and creating a “light touch” post-Brexit immigration system.

Rob added: “The Chamber takes a neutral stance on Brexit but we know, from a survey we carried out this year, that Cumbrian businesses are ill-prepared for a no-deal departure. The new government must go all out to avoid that.

“And we know from earlier research that the county’s food and hospitality sectors are reliant on EU migrant workers. Businesses need an immigration system that works for them.”

The British Chambers is also asking the new PM to boost funding for education, reform apprenticeship funding and business rates, and eliminate gaps in mobile phone coverage.

And it is seeking a pledge that he will not increase taxes or regulation on businesses in the next 12 months.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers, has written to the PM setting out these demands.

His letter says: “Chamber members feel that long-standing domestic challenges have been sidelined while the Westminster focus has been on Brexit.

“Swift and decisive action is needed to support business, the economy and trade as we traverse the most significant period of change and uncertainty the UK has faced in a generation.”

Listen to Rob discussing the Chamber’s ask of the new Prime Minister with BBC Radio Cumbria’s Mike Zeller:

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce