Watch the webinar
- Syma Cullasy-Aldridge, Chief Campaigns Director, CBI
- Alice Lilly, Senior Researcher, Instituite for Government
- Greg Rosen, Senior Counsel, SEC Newgate UK
- Liz Moseley, Editor and Partner, Tortoise Media (Chair)
In this session:
- Political and economic backdrop for these two key moments? In short, it's a tricky time.
- The UK economically is facing stagflation, inflation set to rise, there’s the biggest squeeze on consumer spending for a long time - businesses coming to this on the back of supply chain disruption – continuing to push for growth.
- More resilience economy will come from growing businesses and increasing productivity.
- Turning to politics: also, tricky - consumers facing squeeze in their pockets, input costs for businesses are going up.
- For the Chancellor there's no more money – Treasury sees it as their role to safeguard the economy for future generations and taking longer term view on the economy.
- Partygate and Beergate - simmering away in the background and the PM will be worrying about the Sue Gray report.
- In terms of how this is impacting government thinking - intensifying of short-term focus and populist policies like Rwandan refugee policy, Channel 4 and BBC.
- In practice – this is leading to a tension between No10/11 - PM wants something to be delivered and No. 11 block it because of the cost and much higher emphasis on ROI and VfM.
- Spring Statement – rather than trying to constantly intervene, this Treasury is trying to take longer term focus and choosing moments.
- Energy Bill - great to see the ambition but a lot more needs to be announced on planning.
- Encouraged by the fact that PM stood up and said that business is the engine of growth - but there are actions government needs to take now which wasn’t included in the QS.
- Local election results - I don't think anyone was celebrating in terms of the two main parties.
- Conservatives - lost Wandsworth, which was Margaret Thatcher's favourite constituency, also Westminster –symbolic loses.
- Labour winds weren't as big as they thought they might be.
- Northern Ireland and Scotland are interesting – Sinn Fein win is potentially quite significant and may have an impact on how they make policies and decisions not so long into the future.
- Performance is part of the Queen's Speech – it’s symbolic and ceremonial in bringing together parliament, lords and the monarch. The legislative part is about giving the government a shop window – these are the themes and issues we want to foreground over the next year and setting out the direction of travel.
- Nod to own backbenchers - this is what we're thinking about and here's our agenda.
- Important to note is that the Government is never bound by the Queen's speech - can change course down the road.
- What was striking was that there was media speculation of potential emergency budget and NI protocol - this wasn't included in the Queen’s Speech, but we are expecting in the following weeks.
- Legislative shopping list - 38 bills – of those 38, 4 were carried over from last parliamentary session e.g., online safety bill – it’s normal for the government to do this.
- 35 of these 38 bills are just draft legislation so it’s about giving parliament chance to scrutinise them – unusually high workload.
- Planning reform - long accepted that the government would introduce something on this, but they didn’t in the QS. Almost certainly the reason it wasn’t introduced is that it’s incredibly unpopular with large section of its own MPs. Lots of rebellious Conservatives in the ranks now.
- How serious are the government about getting through all 38 of the bills announced? What we’re seeing in the Queen's speech ‘shopping list’ in a government clear on the challenges but doesn’t yet have the strategy for addressing them.
- Single biggest challenge is the cost of living, but the government doesn’t yet have clear answers on how to address – unsure about windfall taxes etc which is why labour is having cut through on this.
- Energy security strategy – a lot of good ideas in the initial draft that went through that was then stripped out by Treasury – the ‘lowest common denominator problem’
- But range of bills it has enables them to create a debate around big issues in the media which the government will be keen to lean into.
- Last time cost of living was so significant was 1974 – oil crisis, 3-day week, people expected the government to sort out these problems.
- Kwasi Kwarteng and Greg Hands are showing themselves as successful Energy Ministers – asking serious questions about why we can’t build long term storage in the UK and have great ambition – but a lot is very long-term.
- Planning is really important – there are some things the government can do in short-term for energy but many are non-legislative – and do have powers to boost wind and solar but this needs to be linked to grid - historic under investment in grid.
- Government – to its credit - has been very solid on net-zero and told Ofgem we need the grid future proofed – but we’re having to make up for a lot of lost time.
- Are some extra celebrations in some quarters - totemic win for Labour in Westminster.
- Scotland and Wales were very significantly positive results for Labour - in contrast to the read wall - labour really went up. Recovering second place and winning seats back. Conservatives really lost support in Scotland and worried.