The event featured an insightful discussion on the key policy issues affecting local businesses, including Brexit, HS2 and business rates. Given Sir Keir’s role as Labour’s Brexit spokesperson, members were particularly keen to discuss how to get the best outcomes for business during the Brexit negotiations. There was broad agreement that access to European talent pools should be preserved as a priority, giving businesses flexibility in their ability to fill skills gaps in their teams.
The redevelopment of Euston Station for HS2 was also discussed. Concerns were raised that the construction process could see local communities disrupted for a twenty year period. It was acknowledged that many important commitments have been secured from HS2 Ltd on compensation and mitigation over the past few years, and going forward it will be vital to hold HS2 Ltd to the promises it has made to the Camden and Euston areas.
On business rates, all were in agreement that there is a need for long term reform following the unprecedented rates-rise that hit London firms in April. There was particular interest in exploring options that tax businesses after they have experienced growth in profits rather than taxing business based solely on property value.
Altogether, the event was a great success and future business forums will follow to address the pressing issues affecting our businesses. So watch this space.