By Russell Borthwick

On December 12 the UK will go to the polls in one of the most important elections in a generation. It’s been a mere two and a half years since our last General Election but even in this relatively short amount of time, bystanders and businesses alike would have expected more significant progress to create the certainty needed to maintain confidence and investment in the UK’s economy.

Businesses in the North-east, regardless of their political persuasion, are rightly frustrated. We know that firms are holding back on investment, and who can blame them? With cash-flow tight, it’s difficult to justify big investment decisions without a clear line of sight around our future trading relationships and the likely economic environment.

Backing our businesses through policy that reduces upfront costs and encourages investment in the future will always act as the best way to grow our economy and raise standards of living for those across the UK.

Ahead of the election we have outlined some of the key priorities for our member businesses across the North-east.

Connectivity is crucial. Our members want support for guaranteed ringfenced slots for Aberdeen International Airport linked to Heathrow expansion, strengthening our connectivity to key hubs; and a commitment to a structured consultation and discussion with key regional stakeholders regarding policy which maximises economic development opportunities for the maritime and ports sector in the region.

They tell us they would also like targeted support for investment in alternative energy and low carbon technologies, ensuring that the regulatory environment is streamlined to drive funding into hydrogen and capture capture technologies; and the introduction of a tax credit for exporters to help them manage the costs and risks of entering new markets, covering a limited range of activities including research, setup, trade missions and shows.

When it comes to skills, businesses are seeking a commitment to ensure that the UK’s future migration system works for all parts of the United Kingdom. Our region’s key growth sectors have vastly different skills needs, and it’s critical that employers have ongoing access to skills at all levels, with minimal costs, barriers or delays.

There’s lots more on the wish list which is why we have produced our own manifesto which sets out what the North-east wants from its future politicians. Here’s to making sure they are listening.

Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.