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Queen's Speech: What Business Thinks

Broadly, the Queen's Speech's focus on restoring financial stability gained broad business approval, as did the aim of streamlining upcoming legislation. But some of the bills raised concerns about red tape and, in the case of the Business Rate Supplements bill, direct costs.

Some responses...

Management Petra Wilton, policy and research director at the Chartered Management Institute: The current economic climate is the right time to grant requests for flexible working and could "help retain key talent at a time when UK organizations need their skills the most." Measures to tackle inequality at work have been a long time coming. "If employers allow gender gaps to continue the knowledge gap in UK organisations will be exacerbated at the very time we are trying to challenge the skills crisis."

Big business John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI: "Mandatory pay audits would be heavy-handed and add bureaucracy without tackling the core, underlying cause of gender inequality." The right to request flexible working should've been deferred until businesses were less preoccupied with the downturn. And while infrastructure projects such as Crossrail need funding, "now is not the time to bring in new powers to raise more tax widely from business."

Institutional investment Peter Montagnon, director of investment affairs at the Association of British Insurers: "A banking code is one thing, but what would really help is if the authorities were to knuckle down and make the momey markets work better, so that banks have access to the resources they need to lend."

Small business David Frost of the British Chambers of Commerce: "...there is little medicine for the economy. The government has today brought forward proposals which will cost businesses time by imposing new employment legislation and money by hitting them with a business rate supplement."

Small business bosses Miles Templeman, director-general of the Institute of Directors: " is extremely disappointing that the government is still committed to a programme of new regulation which will impact negatively on small businesses. The best measure that government could take to help small businesses through the recession is not to put new regulation in their way. There was an opportunity here for the government to do that and show very clearly it's on the side of small businesses. That opportunity has been missed."
Entrepreneurs Small business lending could get a boost from the Banking Bill, which helps high-street lenders get support from the Bank of England without attracting unwelcome attention. But the proof's in the pudding.

Alternative energy Maria McCaffery MBE, chief executive of the BWEA: "The Marine and Coastal Access Bill is a pioneering piece of legislation, but we must ensure that it allows for the expansion of marine renewable energy, including offshore wind, wave and tidal."

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