Queens Speech Good for Business

1 May 2012

Queens Speech Good for Business

Professor Andrew Godley, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Henley Business School, said: "The day after the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister reaffirmed that economic growth was the number one priority...

Professor Andrew Godley, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Henley Business School, University of Reading said:

"The day after the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister reaffirmed that economic growth was the number one priority for the Government, the Queen's Speech contained several indicators of where the Government hopes intervention might spur additional economic activity.

"Top of the list undoubtedly was the proposed Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which will overhaul employment tribunals, enforce increased competition, lead to reduction in inspections, and reduce unnecessary legislation.  If this is supposed to deliver growth and stimulate entrepreneurship, then such hopes are likely to be disappointed.

"Compared with the on-going penalties imposed by banks for gaining access to finance and the difficulties facing small businesses navigating their way through universities to conduct R&D, the Queen's Speech proposals seem to indicate something of an imagination failure.  Even the proposed Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, trumpeted as an aid to smaller agricultural businesses, reveals a misunderstanding of how the big supermarkets influence the rural economy.

"The Government needs to get tough with Project Merlin.  Britain's High Street banks have been told they have to lend nearly £200bn to UK SMEs.  But the critical issue for entrepreneurs is not the size of the loan they are offered but its price.  If High Street banks cannot lend at reasonable rates to UK entrepreneurs, then the government should step up its own efforts.

"Research and Development vouchers have been trialled with considerable success in various regions, but not in the South East which is at the heart of entrepreneurial growth.  If the Government wants to look for an additional benefit from its expenditure, then R&D subsidies should go to the regions where they will achieve the greatest return.

"There needs to be an increase in the number of incubator initiatives like UK Tech City in East London.  In the new 'platform-based' technologies, the spill over gains from bringing entrepreneurs together, especially in conjunction with leading research universities, are enormous."