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News - 19 March 2010

Business Before Politics

Politics and business came together at the City College, Brighton, on Wednesday evening (17 March) as four parliamentary candidates for Brighton constituencies took to the platform at the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce ‘Chamber Hustings’.

Under the scrupulously balanced gaze of moderator Anthony Zacharzewski, of the Democratic Society, the four electoral hopefuls spent the evening laying out their policies and plans for business – national and local – in response to questions from an audience of about 60 local business leaders.

Simon Burgess (Labour), Ben Duncan (Green), Charlotte Vere (Conservative) and Juliet Williams (LibDems) were quizzed on issues that ranged from the city’s never-ending roadworks and the policing of late night drinking in Kemptown to national policies on resolving the budget deficit, cutting red tape for business, improving employment and freeing up bank lending.

On occasions it felt that the candidates shared very similar views, and topics that were unanimously agreed upon were: the need to slash bureaucracy, to generate private sector employment, maintain government support for “small and medium enterprises” and generally be pro-business. Interestingly, candidates also came close to disagreeing with their own parties’ policies for business, whilst others offered general aspirations in several of their answers.

However, in true old England style the candidates were unswervingly polite to each other and such disagreement as existed was understated. Business leaders were able take heart from the fact that all four candidates recognised that government must support small business, help to free up credit and make employment less onerous for employers, particularly as the economy struggles to recover.

And for the crafted consensus, the evening was lively and interesting, positions were argued eloquently and the four candidates put themselves across as well informed, committed and fit for purpose.

The Chamber Hustings was one of four Business Issues Debates arranged each year by Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce.

A full copy of the Chamber press release can be downloaded by clicking on the link below (Microsoft Word Document)


Click here to download

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