GOVERNMENT must do more to help businesses get the UK back on track, it was claimed.
David Horsman, president of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, made the plea at the organisation’s annual dinner in Huddersfield.
He said fairer taxation, fairer business rates and financial support for research and development were among the key measures needed to help give companies the confidence to invest and recruit in the face of the government’s austerity measures.
Mr Horsman also called for investment in road and rail to build up the regional economy, saying the electrification of trans-Pennine rail routes through Huddersfield and Halifax was “an immediate priority”.
But he added: “It is also important that we revitalise our road system, which is creaking.”
And he said government spending should be re-balanced to give regions outside London and the south-east “a fair crack of the whip”.
In a reference to past spending and the banking sector crisis, Mr Horsman said: “We need to be more responsible.
“Small and medium-sized firms are hard-working and responsible and expect the government and the financial sector to adopt the same sort of values in future. No more quick fixes and no more fast buck.”
Guests at the Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top, also heard from Ian Doubtfire, managing director of Yorkshire-based airline Jet2.com, who outlined how his company was responding to issues including rising fuel costs, pressure on consumer spending power, air industry taxes and the need to become “greener”.
Mr Doubtfire, whose company employs 2,000 staff in the region, said: “We are still profitable and we are very proud of our customer base, which is centred on the north of England.
“We are arguing with the Treasury about the level of support given to regional airports and we are trying to keep our costs as low as possible.”
Guest speaker at the dinner was World Cup referee Howard Webb, who spoke about his career at the top-level of football and answered questions from the audience.