BUSINESSES need to remain focused on trade amid the climate of economic turbulence and reform, bosses from the region’s leading companies have been told.

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Addressing the CBI’s annual East of England dinner, the organisation’s deputy director general, Neil Bentley, spoke of the need for businesses to “drive growth and restore confidence in our markets”.

“There is no doubt that economically we are going through a period of turbulence,” Dr Bentley told the audience of more than 400 guests at the Duxford Airspace Museum in Cambridgeshire.

“While recent announcements on things like planning reforms, house building and health and safety are welcome, we must all remain focused on trade,” he said.

“We need government to get the policies right on things like energy, transport and digital infrastructure, but CBI members know that this must be a long term plan.

“Investing in the UK and selling to the rest of the world is what we need to do,” added Dr Bentley.

The theme of working together was echoed by the guest speaker at the dinner, Ed Balls MP, the Shadow Chancellor, who acknowledges that businesses were facing “real challenges” in terms of innovation and the burdens laid on them.

“Politics needs to rise to this challenge and where possible have cross party consensus on a long-term deficit reduction plan,” he said.

“Jobs and growth are key here in the East of England,” he added. “We need to ensure lending to small businesses gets back on track with tough decisions on spending, taxation and growth addressed.”

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