CBI comments on Queen's Speech
'Business needs delivery on the ground not time-consuming new bills that will have little or no impact before 2015'
'Ministers must focus on driving up exports; getting finance to firms; cutting costs and red tape; and boosting the construction industry, through housing'- John Cridland
The CBI has commented on today’s Queen’s Speech, which set out the legislative programme for 2013/14 Parliamentary session.
John Cridland, the CBI Director-General, said:
“Business does not need a raft of new bills at this stage of a Parliament. You cannot legislate your way to economic growth – laws are only ever one piece of the jigsaw.
“With only two years to go until the next election, business needs delivery on the ground not time-consuming new bills that will have little or no impact before 2015.
“Ministers must focus on driving up exports; getting finance to firms; cutting costs and red tape; and boosting the construction industry, through housing.”
Commenting on Bills relevant to business, Mr Cridland added:
On the HS2 Bill:
“This is the crucial next step for the project. We cannot sit on our hands when the West Coast Main Line is set to reach full capacity by the 2020s, squeezing out passengers and freight.
“Extending HS2 north of Birmingham is a big prize. It will boost the long-term economic potential of some of our biggest cities, driving growth and creating jobs across the country. Ministers must now work hard to secure real consensus on the route to avoid the project being hit by years of delays.
“HS2 cannot be built in isolation. We need sustained, additional capital investment in existing road and rail networks now to meet increased demand.”
On the Pensions Bill:
“The current state pension is confusing and complex. Moving to a flat rate will give people real clarity about how much retirement income they will get from the state and how much they need to save privately through auto-enrolment schemes.
“It is good news that ministers are going to offset the big increases in employers’ NI payments when the State Second Pension ends. We now need to give additional powers to employers running legacy nationalised industries so they can preserve their schemes.
“We’re glad ministers are adopting our proposals to give The Pensions Regulator a new statutory growth objective to ensure each sponsoring employer is financially strong enough to fulfil their liabilities. The best form of protection for employee’s benefits, and the economy as a whole, is a solvent and thriving business.”
On the Immigration Bill:
“UKBA’s unacceptable delays created a lingering, poor impression of the UK as a place to do business. It’s a big step for the Home Office to take it back in-house, where it was declared ‘unfit for purpose’ only a few years ago.
“Firms are less interested in the exact structure of the new system and more in it delivering a fast, efficient and cost-effective service. We must strike the right balance between controlling immigration but still attract the skilled workers and students the economy needs, who otherwise will go to our competitors.”
On the draft Consumer Rights Bill:
“Businesses and consumers are too often pitted against each other – but an effective protection regime is good for firms, growth and competitiveness.
“It is crucial that the consumer law is fit for the digital age and simplifies the out-of-date, tangled web of overlapping common law, statutory regulation and EU legislation.
“We will resist any efforts to introduce US-style class actions into consumer redress, which risks fuelling a litigation culture and make the UK a worse place to do business.”
On the National Insurance Contributions Bill:
“The surprise £2,000 National Insurance rebate in the Budget will give smaller firms the confidence to take on extra staff.
“Extending the General Anti Avoidance Rule is sensible. No one can condone abusive avoidance schemes which serve no commercial purpose other than the minimisation of tax - even if they are legal.”
On the Energy Bill (carried over from previous Parliamentary session):
“The Energy Bill’s journey has dragged on long enough - it is crucial for investors that it’s put on the statute books as soon as possible.
“There is a lot of concern about the lights going out in the next few years – without this investment there is a danger they will go off and not come back on.
“The UK needs £110 billion of private sector investment over the next decade to create long-term secure, low-carbon and affordable electricity supplies – generating growth and underpinning tens of thousands of jobs.