If the UK is to prosper the next government must focus on infrastructure, skills and other priorities for business, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce says.

The chamber has today launched a Manifesto for Business, ahead of the General Election on December 12.

It sets out the business organisation’s ask of the next government on Brexit, people and skills, infrastructure, international trade and business investment and costs.

The policy demands include:

n Reform business rates and introduce a moratorium on measures that increase costs for businesses;

n Investment in transport infrastructure including roads, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail;

n Increased funding for further education to boost skills and reverse the decline in apprenticeship starts;

n An energy strategy to facilitate nuclear new build and realise potential for tidal power and offshore wind;

n A flexible immigration system that allows Cumbrian businesses to recruit migrant workers after Brexit;

n A tax credit to help exporters target new markets;

n Extension of the £1m Annual Investment Allowance to encourage businesses to invest to boost productivity.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce chief executive Rob Johnston said: “No political party can rebuild and transform the economy without a partnership with businesses.

“Successful businesses create jobs and boost receipts to the Exchequer to pay for our public services.

“When businesses thrive, people and communities thrive too – that’s our message to the politicians.”

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce worked with the British Chambers of Commerce and the other 52 accredited chambers across the UK to draw up the manifesto.

Copies are being sent to all the candidates standing for the three main parties in Cumbria.

You can read the manifesto in full at www.cumbriachamber.co.uk/news/27586-read-our-manifesto-for-business

Rob added: “In the two-and-a-half years since the last General Election, much of Parliament’s focus has been on Brexit at the expense of other areas critical to business.

“Many business people have lost trust in the ability of politicians to resolve challenges and many have a real sense that they are not being heard.

"That has to change.”

Earlier this month, the NP11 consortium of the 11 local enterprise partnerships in the North of England published its Manifesto for the North, calling on the next government to take notice of what the North needs from its parliamentarians.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership has also echoed its demands for the North to reamin high on the agenda.