Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:17 PM 7th November 2023

Business Responds To King's Speech

John Foster, CBI Chief Policy and Campaigns Officer, said:

“With a general election within the next 12 months looking increasingly likely, the priority for business is ensuring that the economy isn’t put on the back burner. The King’s Speech offers an opportunity to inject momentum into the economy and action to speed up grid connections, advance autonomous vehicle technology through future-focused regulation, and back UK businesses to trade globally through CPTPP is welcome.

“But the critical moment will be when the Chancellor delivers the Autumn Statement in less than two weeks’ time, where action to unlock business investment, deliver an internationally competitive business environment and seize high growth opportunities can help ignite the economy.

“One idea that would be a game changer in terms of unlocking business investment and driving growth is extending full capital expensing beyond the current 3-year window. A longstanding CBI campaign, our research shows that the move could deliver a permanent boost of 21% to business investment and increase GDP by up to 2% by 2030/31."

Mark Littlewood, Director General of the free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The King’s Speech was an opportunity to reset the agenda, yet has proven little more than heavy on intervention, light on liberalisation. While the government promised to ‘make long-term decisions to change this country for the better’, these announcements risk perpetuating Britain’s nit-picky overregulation, high tax, and low growth economic model.

“The new football regulator and digital markets interventions could repel investment into some of Britain’s most successful and innovative sectors. The phased smoking ban strips away personal choice while presenting an enticing business opportunity for black market sellers. The banning of so-called ‘drip pricing’ for airlines risks passengers paying more for services they do not need.

“New trade agreements, including joining CPTPP, will give consumers more choices and provide opportunities for British businesses. Expanding North Sea oil and gas licences is a welcome step towards lower energy costs, but it can only go so far. But without a fundamental shift in economic thinking, we are on the path to another lost decade of economic growth.”

IoD: Absence of audit and corporate governance reforms is a major omission

Commenting on the King’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, Dr. Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the IoD, said:

“The King’s Speech provided the last opportunity for the government to lay out its legislative agenda ahead of the next General Election. However, there is not much in it to address the direct concerns of business leaders.

"We welcome the introduction of a bill that will enable the UK to proceed with its entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). However, although there will be legislation to guide the introduction new technologies like driverless cars, we are disappointed that the government does not yet have anything substantive to offer with respect to the future regulation of Artificial Intelligence.

"Corporate governance is a crucial issue for the IoD and its members. We welcome the introduction of a Football Governance Bill, which will hopefully enable football clubs to operate in a more sustainable manner. However, the absence of a bill to implement key aspects of the government’s long planned audit and corporate governance reforms is a major omission. It appears that corporate governance is not seen as a vote winner by politicians - despite the wide-ranging impact of the collapses of companies like Carillion and BHS."