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News - 26 November 2004

Queen’s speech light on business content

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has expressed great disappointment in the Queen’s speech. The fact that business interests have been completely ignored in it implies that business is a low priority for the government. This is surprising as a high proportion of businesses in Britain are owner managed and all of those owners are voters.

British Chambers of Commerce, (BCC) Director General, David Frost, said, “The Party Conference season made it clear there was little focus planned in the coming months on business. Whilst it is important to strike a balance between family commitments and work, much of what we have heard is tipping the balance away from the wealth creators. This Queen’s Speech has left business out in the cold and it looks as though that is where we will be staying until the election. We hope the Chancellor proves us wrong in his Pre-Budget Report next week.

“There are a few areas of good news for business. We welcome moves to create a new single equalities commission, clean and safe neighbourhoods, streamlining of rural service provision and the extension of child benefit to encourage young people into training.

“Increasing security is a necessary move. It is important that business recognises the role that it should play in protecting employees and being vigilant. We all have a role in protecting the communities in which we operate.

“ID cards have the potential to make life easier for employers, freeing them up from having to wade through reams of checks and calculations. We would want to know more detail to ensure this does not become another burden that businesses have to cope with. “On corporate manslaughter, tackling gross negligence by organisations should be welcomed by all business groups. This is a serious issue which has until now been a weak area of law. Companies should adopt a socially responsible approach to occupational health and safety.

“On rail measures we are pleased the Government is to abolish the Strategic Rail Authority and it is good to see Crossrail getting the attention it deserves.”

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