What does the Queen’s speech mean for UK businesses?

26 Jun 2017

Business Featured

Following the recent General Election the Queen has delivered her speech outlining the aims and policies of the new government. This year, Her Majesty’s speech addressed the issues of Brexit, trade and economic growth among others.

Here, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce outlines the aspects of the speech that will directly, and indirectly, affect UK businesses.

Britain’s trade relationship with the EU is one of the major areas of negotiation in securing a Brexit deal that will benefit.

Customs Bill

Commenting on the proposed Customs bill, he said: “Chambers of Commerce facilitate tens of billions of pounds worth of UK trade across borders every year. We stand ready to work with the government to develop a UK customs system that supports free-flowing trade between UK firms and their customers and suppliers around the world. It is crucial that business and government work together, as well, to ensure that a new UK customs code underpins seamless trade between the UK and the continent in the years to come.”

On the Trade Bill

“Safeguarding and retaining the favourable terms of trade that UK businesses have enjoyed under EU free trade agreements negotiated by the EU over the past four decades must be a top priority for ministers as the UK develops its own trade policy. The firms we represent say that confirming existing levels of market access is a bigger immediate priority than launching new free trade negotiations with new countries and markets around the world. They also need ground-level trade promotion and support to take advantage of the opportunities that new trade agreements may create in future.”

Immigration Bill

Concerns over the rights of EU citizens to live and work in the UK post Brexit have been circulating for some time. Marshall maintains that the UK must adopt a flexible system to allow businesses to recruit the right candidates at home and overseas.

He said: “The needs of the economy must be at the heart of this once-in-a-generation overhaul of the UK’s immigration system. While businesses accept the need for controls over migration flows, they want clear assurances that they will be able to recruit from overseas to fill vacancies when they are unable to find or train suitable candidates here at home.

“After Brexit, they will also want to see a flexible system for the movement of labour and skills between the UK and the EU that enjoys clear public support. This is also a major opportunity to simplify the Home Office’s bureaucratic processes, which impose heavy costs and great uncertainty on businesses and individuals alike.”

HS2 Phase 2A Bill

HS2 is a planned high speed railway linking London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester.

Dr Adam Marshall suggests that the line will benefit business communities, but that focus cannot not be lost on improving connectivity across the country.

He said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to legislate for the second phase of HS2, which will extend the benefits of the line to many more business communities. However, we will continue to press for the completion of a full national network – and to ensure that other key road and rail priorities, both small and large, are fully funded and executed throughout the UK. We need to have the fundamentals right here at home, including infrastructure, to trade successfully in the future regardless of the eventual Brexit deal.”