Calls have been made for the newly elected Conservative Government to start listening to business.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive of Rob Johnston said Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Tory Government now needed to act on demands it had made over Brexit, people and skills, infrastructure, international trade and business investment and costs.

He said copies of the Chamber’s ‘Manifesto for Business’ – published in the lead up to the General Election – had been sent to all six of the county’s elected MPs, five of which are Conservatives following a Labour wipe out.

“Many businesses felt politicians weren’t listening to them during the election campaign,” said Mr Johnston.

“It’s time the politicians recognised that businesses create the wealth that generates tax revenues that pay for public services.

“When businesses thrive, people and communities thrive. We want to work constructively with the new Government to ensure that businesses in Cumbria grow and prosper.”

Mr Johnston added that with growth set to slow to just 1 per cent next year, the Government needed to act fast to “boost the confidence of businesses, consumers and investors”.

“We want the new Government to accelerate infrastructure projects, ramp-up assistance for exporters and, crucially, cut the upfront cost of doing business,” he added.

The Chamber has called for a reform of business rates, tax credits to help exporters target new markets and for the £1 million Annual Investment Allowance to be extended to encourage businesses to invest and ramp up their productivity.

It has demanded investment in transport infrastructure, including HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, an energy strategy that supports the development of new nuclear power stations, tidal power and more off-shore wind, and increased funding for further education to boost skills and reverse the decline in apprenticeship starts.

And it also wants a flexible immigration system that would allow Cumbrian businesses to recruit migrant workers after Brexit.

And it also wants the threat of a no-deal Brexit to be removed, with the Government committed itself to leaving the European Union in January having run on the promise to “get Brexit done”.

Mr Johnston added: “It’s vital the Government negotiates a trade deal, even if it means extending the transition period beyond December 2020.

“We know from the work we’ve done with Cumbrian businesses on Brexit preparedness that leaving the EU without a trade deal would be disruptive and damaging.”

Elsewhere, Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster – which has more than 300 members primarily within the county’s nuclear and wider energy supply chain – believes having five Tory MPs would increase Cumbria’s influence over central Government.

Its executive director, John Grainger, said: “The likelihood of support for infrastructure projects is therefore greatly enhanced, particularly the A595, which connects the communities in West Cumbria to Carlisle in the north and Barrow in the south.  

“The ability of West Cumbria to speak with one voice for the first time in over a decade to a same colour Government should definitely reap benefits.”

Mr Grainger said Tory gains in areas across the North West Nuclear Arc area also strengthened Cumbria’s potential to capitalise on new nuclear opportunities.

North West Nuclear Arc brings together organisations and businesses across Cumbria, Lancashire, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Warrington, and Wylfa and Trawsfyndd in Wales to showcase the region’s skills and capabilities to investors and the Government.

“The increasing lobby by West Cumbria and our colleagues in North Wales for Small Modular Reactors and the assembly and the opportunities for collaborative working in the supply chain that goes alongside assembly and deployment, has received a filip,” added Mr Grainger.

The boss of Carlisle-headquartered H&H Group, Richard Rankin, described the election outcome as “the right result for businesses”.

“It gives us is a period of certainty, so we can now get on and run our companies, grow the economy and grow Great Britain,” said Mr Rankin, who is chief executive of a group that encompasses auctioneering, property, insurance, commercial services and printing businesses.

“A lot of what has happened in the last few years can be related to the fact that we did not have a leader with a strong majority who could lead the country forward.

“We now have a Prime Minister who has the mandate and the authority to govern and most businesspeople would agree that we just want to get on with it as we do with our businesses.”

He added: “I’m interested and keen to know what he is going to do for the rural economy and the rural sectors. Hopefully as soon as possible, we will have discussion and debate about The Agricultural Policy and what is right for this country.”