Gordon Brown reveals how government can get ahead of the current and upcoming crisis as he addresses British Chambers of Commerce conference today

Speaking to the British Chambers of Commerce virtual conference this afternoon the Former PM will say:

  • This springs liquidity crisis threatens to become this winter’s solvency crisis unless the government gets ahead of the crisis curve 
  • Citing evidence from France, Germany, Sweden and Singapore Brown says UK Growth and Future funds should be trebled with regional hubs to offer viable companies a cash lifeline
  • In absence of vaccine and cure, Brown believes we should be offering millions the new Covid-19 saliva test to help the country back to work. 
  • He will call for Chambers’  75,000 businesses to back footballer Marcus Rashford’s school holiday meals initiative

Signalling how businesses can overcome the health pandemic he will say

“In the absence of a vaccine or cure and in the knowledge that carriers of the disease often show no visible symptoms for days, testing has to be our first line of defence. Today saliva test will soon be available… self-administered, relatively inexpensive and with almost instant results – and make possible not thousands but millions of tests every week. Followed up with rapid and far more efficient contact tracing and where necessary self-isolation, this breakthrough would allow employees to more easily go to work without fear, the geographically mobile to travel without heightened restrictions,  and businesses to return to full activity with only minimal disruption.

On tailoring regional growth recovery programmes he will say

More help with lending infrastructure skills training and export credits will make a difference especially in the North, but when I look at other countries  – France Germany Sweden Singapore,  Ireland, New Zealand – where equity for loans initiatives are being put into place to help both strategically important large firms and also start-up and growth companies, I would now ask the Growth Fund and Future Fund to create regional hubs, treble their activity, and offer viable companies the chance to convert their loans into equity ……..  for let us be clear it will only be through growth that we can bring employment back, expand the consumer economy reduce the deficit and debt, and as important bring back hope.

Referencing Brexit he will say

“But as long as our economy is hamstrung by an unresolved health emergency,  the one certainty is uncertainty and in Britain more than elsewhere. I know it’s not possible to go over two cliff edges at once but we face a cliff edge as furlough ends and another cliff edge as Brexit begins and I still hope that in the negotiation we can both avoid a new deal and on pragmatic grounds remain associated with the job-creating Erasmus skills and the Horizon innovation programmes and continue to benefit from the £6bn a year investment in the UK by the European Investment Bank.

Calling on Chancellor Sunak’s Winter Recovery Plan to do more he will say

 “There are quite fundamental problems he still has to address. I welcome all those publicly spirited chambers that have enlisted to help the youth employment programme KICKSTART but with one million young people not doing anything from the start of November I have suggested from my own experience of the new deal for young people of 1997 and the future jobs programme of 2009 ways… where he has to do more;

Calling on chambers to support Marcus Ashford’s school holiday meals he warns of a third cliff edge in March 2020

“When we abolish the £20 life on universal credit which would take annual spending power of £6bn out of the economy and as worried as you are about child poverty I hope that all chambers will join the many companies who have generously supported Marcus Rashford’s non-political initiative to help feed the hungry during their school holidays;

And he will urge government to act to prevent mass business bankruptcy crisis in the new year. 

“In line with my mantra that you have to be two steps ahead of the curve I want us to act before the liquidity crisis businesses faced in 2020 becomes the solvency crisis of 2021.”  


Note to desks,

Together with the First Minister of Wales, the Metro of Mayors of the city Regions of Liverpool, North Tyneside, Manchester, Sheffield, Greater London and  Bristol, Mr Brown is a co-founder of the Alliance for Full Employment which is lobbying for the English regions, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to be able to design bespoke local regional recovery programmes with government.


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