British Chambers of Commerce
According to its own website the BCC has '56 local Chambers of Commerce and a network of Chambers across the globe.'
The BCC claims to be an effective lobbyist for business interests:
- The BCC is an influential voice. Its surveys, reports and consultations provide grassroots business opinion on issues such as Tax, Regulation, Skills and Transport. Its research work undertaken in conjunction with major academic institutions directs future business policy. The BCC meets regularly with government Ministers and key opinion formers to represent its members’ interests, and it responds to all major government consultations affecting UK business.
- The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is the country’s largest business survey and is recognised as the most reliable forecaster of future economic trends; indeed the Monetary Policy Committee now uses the QES as a key and constant reference when setting UK interest rates.
- The BCC National Conference – regarded as a key event in the business calendar – attracts the UK’s most senior politicians and business people. The annual National Chamber Awards recognise the excellence of both BCC member businesses – with one picking up a £25,000 cash award courtesy of Microsoft - and of the work of the local Chambers themselves. As a member of the Eurochambres network, the BCC also takes responsibility for representing UK businesses across the European Union.
- of the recent highlights of the BCC’s extensive and on-going work include
- The BCC Burdens Barometer – which has identified the cost of regulation to business at over £50 billion - resulted in extensive media coverage and renewed pressure to cut regulation. In further activity, the BCC has stimulated the government to address the Burden of Red Tape on business. The government is now conducting business surveys to establish the extent of the issue
- In addition to regularly speaking at the BCC’s National Conference, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has cited the BCC’s work on tax simplification in his budget
- The BCC's President leads a group of Chamber Presidents to meetings with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and sits on the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer's Tax Reform Commission
- A BCC Pensions survey of over 800 employers was published and received widespread media coverage including mentions in the FT, The Times, The Guardian, The Mail, The Express and BBC News. Indeed, press activity has increased at all levels, covering the equivalent of over £5 million worth of paid advertising
- Following intensive lobbying by the BCC, the European Commission proposed that countries should keep the working time opt out on the Working Directive. Other BCC successes included the three EU Committees voting to make the REACH directive more business friendly; re-localisation of business rates being put on hold for the near future and the banking industry agreeing to reduce clearing times on electronic payments.
In short, the BBC concludes, 'The BCC amplifies the voice of British business.'
- Peter Mileham incoming President from July 2006
^ Policy & Media: Representing British business from grassroots to government. BCC Website, accessed January 2007.