The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has penned an open letter to re-elected U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, urging him to, "take bold action," on six key issues.
Cameron led his Conservative Party to victory in last week's U.K. general election, winning a surprise overall majority after most polls had pointed to a hung parliament.
Congratulating Cameron on his victory, John Longworth urged the Prime Minister to focus on public spending, trade, talent, investment, infrastructure and Europe. With an in-out referendum scheduled for the end of 2017 at the latest, the question of whether the U.K. remains in the EU is set to become a key issue in British politics.
"We continue to support your search for a new settlement for Britain in Europe," Longworth wrote, before adding that British business, "wants fundamental reform of the UK's relationship with the EU, safeguards that prevent decisions on our economic interests being taken by the Eurozone, and a referendum on that settlement."
Austerity and cutting the deficit have been key tenets of Cameron's time in office. And while the economy is showing signs of recovery – the unemployment rate in January 2015 was 5.6 percent, compared to 6.9 percent in January 2014, according to official statistics – a further £12 billion of cuts to welfare are set to come in the next five years.
On the issue of public spending, Longworth stated that, "Business wants a plan for fiscal consolidation that is carefully balanced with the overriding need to nurture growth and investment. Growth, not austerity, should be the watchword as you continue the difficult work of eliminating the deficit."
Ending the letter, Longworth urged Cameron to be "ambitious" and to, "Make no apologies for seeking the highest growth and investment rates, and the lowest unemployment and taxation rates, amongst the UK's global peers."