"Jam-packed" Queen's speech focuses on economy

"Jam-packed" Queen's speech focuses on economyBusiness leaders have responded favourably to the Queen's Speech this week but they are calling for more clarity from Government on initiatives to tackle red tape and late payment.

The 26-bill package of legislative proposals included the EU referendum as well as tax freezes on VAT, income tax and national insurance for five years, the promise of three million more apprenticeships and plans to cut more red tape.

The tax freezes were welcomed by Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD), but he warned: "While IoD members are opposed to increases in the rates of VAT, income tax and national insurance, we consider it imperative that the Government’s commitments do not prevent bold tax reforms to both simplify taxation and reduce the burden upon businesses and individuals."

Katja Hall, deputy director-general of the CBI, said the speech was: "jam-packed", with "a strong focus on stepping up a gear on the economic recovery - locking in growth, creating jobs and boosting investment right across the country."

Hall applauded measures to devolve more powers to cities and regions. "The devolution of key powers could accelerate growth across the country," she said. "Where there is an economic case for further devolution, business will support it."

Hall also said that she wanted to see "more details on how the Small Business Conciliation Service will work in practice. We believe customers and suppliers should deal directly to reach agreement wherever possible."

However, some business leaders expressed doubts about the Government's ability to deliver more red tape cuts. Darren Fell, ceo of Crunch Accounting, said: "We really hope that their pledge to relax business regulations is more successful than their previous attempt."

The IoD’s Simon Walker, said: "Good intentions are nothing without delivery, and companies will be looking to the Business Secretary to spell out exactly where he will find £10bn worth of cuts to regulation."

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "As much of the most costly regulatory burdens are created by the EU, cutting red tape will be a challenge."

Longworth described the Queen’s Speech as "a positive start" but he said: "If the last Parliament was defined by austerity, this one should be defined by growth. And the Government needs a confident, unapologetic programme to deliver that sustained growth."

Image: UK Parliament on Flickr.

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