By Daniel Hunter
John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) believes business will welcome the changes announced by the Queen today (Wednesday) in her speech.
“On balance, businesses will welcome the limited package of legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech. Ministers are right to focus on measures that can help boost growth, and seem to have gotten the message that when it comes to new legislation, less is more," he said.
“The key for business is delivering on the government’s existing commitments, whether on infrastructure, energy, or education and training. Businesses are impatient to see real progress and real benefit emerging on the ground, not just the completion of Westminster and Whitehall processes.”
On a consumer bill of rights (Draft Consumer Rights Bill): “Consolidating the vast amount of legislation on Trading Standards’ powers into one piece of legislation may benefit consumers. However, any simplification of consumer law must not add new burdens for businesses.”
On education (no new Bill): “The government is right to focus on improving the quality of education for young people; however we would like to see greater ambition in preparing young people for employment, through comprehensive careers education.
“A lot of energy is being invested in promoting vocational training. Businesses would be even happier if the Departments for Business and Education could present a joined-up, single system in relation to this type of training.”
On deregulation (Deregulation Bill): “Business welcomes the government’s efforts to deregulate, and remove needless red tape that prevents companies of all sizes from growing, innovating, and creating employment. Proposals around employment and health and safety law must be implemented without delay to increase business confidence, and allow firms to focus on growth.
On pensions (Pensions Bill): “The introduction of a single tier state pension brings much greater clarity for pension savers, as well as parity for the self-employed. The government must ensure there is as much flexibility as possible for firms required to end contracting out, particularly given the decision to implement this reform as early as 2016.”
On national insurance (National Insurance Contributions Bill): “The new Employment Allowance will help our smallest companies take on staff, and will give many businesses an important boost of confidence. In particular, this measure will create a strong incentive for a new or start-up business to hire its first employee.”
On high speed rail (High Speed Rail Preparation Bill; Hybrid Bill): “The inclusion of these Bills is a welcome reaffirmation of the government’s commitment to radically transform the capacity of the UK’s congested rail network. Business wants the Preparation Bill to receive cross-party support and a smooth passage through Parliament, leading to a Hybrid Bill in the near future.”
On utilities (Energy and Water Bills): “The government must ensure that the Energy Bill is not subject to any further delays that would hinder the future security of the UK’s energy supply or discourage private sector investment.
“The lack of competition in the English water market has meant that English businesses have received a poorer service than customers in Scotland. Ensuring genuine competition between water suppliers is good news for businesses in England.”
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