The Chamber team provide a brief overview of the headline policies of the Queen's Speech.
On Monday 14th, the Queen re-opened Parliament with her speech before the Lords and Commons. This is a Parliamentary procedure that formally ends one session of Parliament and the speech outlines the new agenda of the Government.
The Chamber have highlighted some of the key announcements below.
Brexit & Trade
It’s probably a welcome relief to some that Brexit did not really feature in the speech, only in the sense that this agenda depends on getting a deal. This will largely be due to the ongoing negotiations ahead of the EU Summit on 18th October.
On trade, it was bit of buzzword bingo, but there is a focus on continued rolled over access of exiting trade deals. We are still waiting on Government to outline a clear and resourced trade strategy that can provide confidence and certainty to business exporting to new markets or as beginners.
A new National Infrastructure Strategy was announced to “ensure that the benefits of a prospering economy reach every corner of the UK”. The British Chambers have long called for the Government to work with business to help fix the fundamentals, especially in infrastructure.
Improving road and air connectivity should be key to this, but also delivering on HS2 and investing in East Coast mainline improvements, not just so North East business can access opportunities, but so that the North East becomes a stronger region to invest in.
Developing digital connectivity is also vital and building on some of the key innovations in the region, such as the North Atlantic Loop.
One of the first announcements was a new immigration bill, that will end the Freedom of Movement. We need to see the details of the replacement system as soon as possible so that business can properly plan their future skill needs, as well as assurances that current EEA workers will have be accounted for and protected before the new system is introduced.
There is a proposal for a new Devolution policy. Building on the success of our metro mayors, business would welcome the placing of powers and spending decisions into local hands.
We still await (any) details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the replacement scheme for European funding that has been key in regional development and growth programmes for business. Should a Brexit deal be agreed, there will be a new budget on November 5th.
The Government are also due to introduce a new environment bill which will include more powers to local areas to tackle air pollution, biodiversity targets for developers and charges for some single use plastic items.
With an election looming, and as the Government majority is minus 43, this felt more of a party positioning before heading to the polls, rather than radical change over the horizon. I suppose all eyes will now turn to the Brexit negotiations on 18th October, followed by the Saturday Parliament sitting to debate the outcomes of that summit on the 19th, where it will have to prescribe a way forward. Whether that be deal, extension, election...