Lancashire businesses welcome measures in the Queen's Speech, but call for specifics

Business groups across Lancashire gave a thumbs up to Boris Johnson's plans set out in the Queen's Speech but called for detail and action to tackle pressing issues.

By Tim Gavell
Thursday, 13th May 2021, 4:55 am

Geoff Mason, policy manager at the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, which has offices in Preston and Blackpool, said: “Businesses will welcome the intention to boost the economy across all areas of the country.

“To hear that it is the Government’s priority to rebuild following the pandemic will be a relief to many still in need of support over the coming months.

“Improving skills provision to ensure people remain productive throughout their careers fits well alongside recent moves to engage employers in deciding what skills are required for the future.

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The Queen and the Prince of Wales at the ceremony to read the Queen's Speech

“The Chamber network has worked hard over recent years to raise the issue of skills gaps and the impact on productivity.

“There are positive moves on infrastructure investment including rail and bus travel, as well as 5g mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband. Legislation to establish a new Advanced Research and Invention Agency to promote ‘high-risk, high reward’ research is also welcome news.”

“As ever with the Queens Speech, there is little detail on many of these intentions at this stage and how this will affect our local businesses will be seen as more information is made available.”

National chairman of the Blackpool-based Federation of Small Businesses, Mike Cherry, said: “The success of much-needed levelling-up initiatives will hinge on their ability to reach the 5.9 million small businesses and sole traders that drive our economy forward and are at the heart of local communities.

Geoff Mason

“From commitments to transport and broadband infrastructure, to a lifetime skills guarantee, to bringing more small businesses into public procurement processes, there’s a lot to welcome in today’s address.

“We now need to see action: restoring the lost jobs retention bonus or reducing the jobs tax that is employer national insurance contributions as the option to furlough staff is removed will help to stem a wave of unemployment.

“Nine in ten people moving from being out of work into employment after the last recession did so via a small business or self-employment. If we want to see a similar trend over the coming months, bringing down the non-wage costs of employment and facilitating the right support for start-ups will be key.

Mike Cherry