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The Queen’s Speech reflects growing recognition of the important role of small businesses

29th May, 2015 No Comments


 

Following on from the election frenzy this month we have heard the Queen’s speech containing a record number of bills, outlining the incoming Conservative Government’s plans and priorities for the next 5 years. The 26 bill package was described by Prime Minister David Cameron as a “programme for working people” and the creation of full employment was at the heart of the plan. It does appear to contain several business-friendly policies, but a key question is ‘what does this really mean for the new and growing businesses that are the focus of the work of the Cavendish Consortium?’

Business reaction indicates that the Queen’s Speech was perceived as steady and relatively safe with no real surprises. Some of the businesses that I have spoken to are taking time out to get to grips with what it means, seeing this as the calm before the storm with much still to be debated, particularly around the in/out EU referendum. It is very positive to see the commitment to enterprise and jobs but there is a sense that we need to see the actions that follow on from the plans.

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce commenting on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill said:

“Simplifying life for small or growing businesses should be an objective shared across all political parties. There are many measures in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill that will receive support if they work in practice – including faster company registration, improvements to public sector payment, and measures to support business cash flow.”

The Government is committed to setting up a small business conciliation service to resolve business to business disputes, particularly over late payment which is a key issue for many small businesses. The cutting of ‘red tape’ and unnecessary bureaucracy is certainly welcomed by SMEs who are the lifeblood of our economy. New legislation is planned to help achieve full employment and we are committed to playing our part in realising this through starting and growing more businesses. It is to be hoped that emerging policies result in a practical, accessible ecosystem to encourage rather than inhibit new business growth.

Other areas of particular interest to small businesses are:

–   No VAT, income tax or national insurance contribution rises in the next five years for those working over 30 hours per week on the national minimum wage

–   An increase in the provision of free childcare by 2017

–   EU referendum before the end of 2017

–   An emphasis on the importance of building a Northern Powerhouse

–   Delayed plans to scrap the Human Rights Act

–   A continuation of the building of the High Speed 2 railway

 

As always the devil will be in the detail and in the practical roll out of the Government plans. I have been struck however by the general sense of optimism among businesses that I have spoken to. There is a sense of increased opportunity and a focus on building a strong future.

I’ll finish with a quote from John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses who said:

“The Small Business Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, reflects the growing recognition of the role small businesses have to play in driving forward the economy and the need to do all we can to support them in that effort.”

I echo his sentiment, we must all play our part in supporting that effort and in driving forward the Government’s aspiration to “cement the UK’s position in Europe as the best place to start and grow a business.”

 

Written by Carole White, CEO, TEDCO Business Support

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