Queen’s Speech – Chamber Reaction

Chamber calls for costs crisis interventions as Queen’s Speech measures unveiled

“There are some welcome measures for business in this Queen’s Speech, but the problem we have is that we need actions that will address things now, not when the laws get through Parliament.

“The Brexit Freedoms Bill can help business by unlocking innovation and expansion in a range of developing technologies, especially the growing world of Net Zero products and services; and the Higher Education Bill shows commitment to create a flexible lifelong loan entitlement for adults to upskill and reskill for our changing workplaces. Financial assistance with modular learning will be important in helping people gain technical skills and ensure employers can access a skilled workforce.

“However, unless the Government takes immediate action on the economy, these measures may come too late for many firms.  The cost of living crisis needs action now. If we can ease the pressure on businesses, they can keep a lid on the price rises being driven by surging energy bills, staff shortages and higher taxes.  An emergency budget with the right support measures would help drive the economy forward – and this appeal has been made to government.

“The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill also affords some welcome opportunities for West & North Yorkshire to continue growing, and to help rejuvenate our high streets, but wider reform of the planning system is needed to speed up the process and reduce complexity.”

Details of the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill

  • Place a duty on Government to set Levelling Up missions and produce annual update on delivery
  • Create new model of combined authority: the ‘County Deal’ to provide local leaders with powers to enhance accountability, join up services and transparent decision making to rejuvenate communities, increase ability to reflect local preferences in arrangements including directly elected leaders’ titles
  • Unlock new powers for local authorities to bring empty premises back into use and instigate rental auctions of vacant commercial properties
  • Give residents more of a say over changing street names and ensure everyone benefits from al fresco dining
  • Strengthen neighbourhood planning and digitalising the system to make local plans easier to find, understand and engage with; by making it easier for local authorities to get local plans in place, we will limit speculative development.

Chamber (i.e. BCC) reaction to Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill details

  1. Businesses are keen to ensure levelling up ambitions are quickly turned into delivery against the missions in the near future, improving prosperity around the country.
  2. Local business communities will welcome plans to drive regeneration and growth.
  3. But the planning system needs wider reform to speed up the process, reduce complexity and ensure the right balance of land is available for homes and jobs.
  4. Businesses are being squeezed out of communities as good quality employment land is given over to residential uses, limiting scope for firms to invest, grow, expand and boost productivity.

Read the Chamber’s reaction to the Queen’s Speach in our summary document

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