10 May 2022

Queen’s Speech right to focus on economy but it’s time for businesses to see benefits, says East Midlands Chamber

Responding to the Government’s legislative agenda for the coming year laid out in the Queen’s Speech, East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Given the huge financial challenges facing people and businesses right now, it is absolutely right the Government puts the economy front and centre of its legislative programme.

“We must focus on bringing in policies that will help to drive economic growth, and supports crises in both the cost of living and cost of doing business – the latter of which provides a very real threat to many companies of all shapes and sizes.

“An Energy Security Bill that supports the transition to cleaner and cheaper energy will be an important part of this agenda, but while long-term structural changes are required, small firms desperately need support in the short-term.

“Other commitments will play a vital role in this mix – including continued education reform, as long as it heavily involves businesses, and the simplification of public sector procurement for SMEs, which will drive a more competitive and innovative landscape.

Brexit Freedoms Bill must deliver benefits for businesses

“There has been a lot of hype in Westminster about the Brexit Freedoms Bill. It’s now approaching 18 months since the end of the UK-EU transition period and while the waters have been muddied by the ongoing challenges arising from the pandemic, many businesses are yet to see any meaningful benefits from leaving the EU.

“They were promised there would be an easing of the way they do business, but instead many exporters and importers have faced increased obstacles and confusion. If we ever want to start delivering on the benefits of Brexit, then action needs to begin now.

“The East Midlands, which receives the lowest infrastructure investment per head in Britain, will also be keeping a close eye on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and Transport Bill.

“Our rail services need significant improvements and investment, which is why last autumn’s decision to de-scale the HS2 Eastern Leg was such a bitter blow for our region, while planning reforms are a long time coming after tinkering around the edges has failed to address the fundamental changes required.

“We have heard lots of talk about levelling up during the lifetime of this Government, so now is the time to puts its money where its mouth is.”