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Press Releases Policy publications - Productivity & growth

IoD responds to Queen's Speech

19 Dec 2019

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Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Edwin Morgan, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“After years of deadlock, business leaders will be very keen to see progress on some of the key challenges holding back enterprise.

“Action on issues like broadband and regional growth will chime with many directors’ priorities. Elsewhere, the commitment to ramping up R&D spending while incentivising business investment should help drive productivity growth, the lack of which has been a drag on the economy for a decade.

“While businesses will be pleased to have a stronger framework to plan from, there are still some details still to be filled in the Government’s blueprint. A business rates review is overdue and welcome, but it’s an area where progress is hard to come by, and more information is needed on the proposed ‘National Skills Fund’. Similarly, while the Conservatives’ broader commitments around transport networks are definitely heading in the right direction, business leaders will still be waiting for clarity on big-ticket projects like HS2.

“It's essential for the new Government to understand that a bespoke new trade deal with the EU makes it all the more difficult for businesses to prepare in advance of knowing exactly what changes this will bring. It should commit to a proper adjustment period once negotiations are concluded, as is standard for most trade agreements and wider regulatory change. The Government also needs to come forward with commitments to protect Northern Ireland’s place within the UK’s domestic market, in light of new costs and potential barriers to internal trade that the withdrawal agreement could spell for Northern Ireland.”

On the Government’s planned measures on corporate governance and takeover interventions, Roger Barker, Head of Corporate Governance, said:

“Having been stalled by Parliamentary proceedings, it’s positive to see the Government move forward with reforms to beef up the accounting regulator while exploring other ideas to secure trust in business. However, the concern remains that such a regulator would not be a good fit for either the Corporate Governance Code or the Stewardship Code. Even within the existing model, it can occasionally appear as though governance is simply an adjunct of the accountancy profession, and we risk pushing the UK’s framework towards a more legalistic, US-style regulatory approach with limited scope for flexibility.

“The Government’s proposals to strengthen its powers to investigate and intervene in business transactions also gives cause for caution. If those powers are excessively politicised, the UK's status as a leading destination for foreign investment and location for corporate headquarters and operations would be at risk.”

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