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Pre-election rhetoric could harm UK business, Chamber of Shipping warns

Pre-election rhetoric could harm UK business, Chamber of Shipping warns
As election time approaches in the UK, politicians must be careful not to be "anti-business" in their policies as they try to appeal to voters, warns the UK Chamber of Shipping.

UK Chamber president Marcus Bowman will state his position that policies on taxation and immigration could impact negatively on business, in a speech at the chamber's annual dinner in London this evening.

“As we approach the end of this Parliament, the UK has strong growth and rising employment," Bowman will say. "This is attractive to international business. As the election approaches, politicians must be mindful of doing anything that would put that at risk."

“Isolating ourselves from the single market, or making the UK a harder place to do business, would be disastrous for our economy," Bowman will warn. The UK's membership of the EU and immigration have been hot topics in the UK, leading to the rise of the anti-EU, anti-immigration UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Calling on politicians to avoid a "race to the bottom" on immigration, Bowman will highlight the need for talent from across the UK and the world to sustain the UK's position as a maritime hub. "If our international workforce can’t get visas. If they are not made to feel welcome. If they are demonised, then they will go elsewhere and our country will be less imaginative, less vibrant, and less successful as a result.”

Bowman will size up the country's two main political parties, and the affect their policies might have on business should they get into power.

“The Labour Party is laying down a policy agenda that amounts to more tax, more spending and more regulation," Bowman said of the centre-left party. "To business – this is not an economic strategy but a political one. They should think long and hard about the messages they are sending out, and the impact their policies will have.

For the centre-right Conservative Party, Bowman will say: “The Conservative Party, as the traditional party of business has worked hard to improve the economy but is at risk of being sidetracked by the rise of UKIP into expressing sentiment that could lead us to the exit door of the European Union. The institutions of the EU are flawed, the Commission is often aloof, and less engaged with industry than it should be. The whole thing is in need of reform – but we should think hard about what reforms we need, and what leaving the single market would mean for our business, our workforce and our country."