The future of Britain, following its impending breakup with the EU, is uncertain. However, as when any relationship comes to a close, all you can do is put on a brave face and remain hopeful. It appears that is what the Queen was doing when she gave her long-awaited speech at the reopening of parliament earlier today.
While she does not possess the ability to gaze into a crystal ball and predict the future, the Queen does offer a motivating and refreshing glimmer of positivity (penned by her ministers) amid the stormy cross-continental separation.
But for many weathered SMEs fearing for their future, what can they take away from this regal speech?
1. A better trade system
- “My Ministers will work to implement new regimes for fisheries, agriculture and trade, seizing the opportunities that arise from leaving the European Union”.
This may be a relief for many SMEs who operate with parties outside of Britain, specifically farmers or food partners who ship to foreign shores.
Just last week news broke of how whisky distillers in rural Scotland could face 25% tariffs on their exports, causing significant losses to an industry that employees 11,000 people across the country. Perhaps this serves as a promise to ensure that those long-standing industries who have brought great profit to the UK will be protected and not cast aside.
2. Brighter hope for future business owners
- “My Ministers will ensure that all young people have access to an excellent education, unlocking their full potential and preparing them for the world of work”.
This paints a promising depiction of life for hopeful young recruitees, who are yet to emerge into the corporate world. With over half of the workforce striving to start their own business, this number should only increase over the following years, if they are better educated.
Furthermore, the Queen touched on the prospect of a Britain that is more environmentally aware:
“For the first time, environmental principles will be enshrined in law.” This also shines a light of opportunity for the growing number of sustainable brands that are launching and growing their businesses in the UK. Could the implementation of these policies encourage people to invest in companies who are trying to make a positive impact?
3. Protection for the already established workforce
“An immigration bill, ending free movement, will lay the foundation for a fair, modern and global immigration system”.
The notion that EU workers who have long strived to create a life for themselves inside the UK will be immediately turfed out of the UK after October 31st will, thankfully, not become a reality, according to the Queen’s Speech.
This is an excellent revelation for business owners and workers alike who employ people from outside the UK. Just last year an average of 627,000 people migrated to Britain to work, performing vital roles and contributing to the growth of the British economy.
“My Government remains committed to ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom, have the right to remain,” she continued.
Can a post-EU dream come true for Britain?
This all sounds very positive, but it’s hard to know what a UK without the EU will look like. Let us not forget that is the Queen’s job to inspire and reaffirm her nation, so the idea that she would deliver a manifesto that was packed full of doom and gloom was an unlikely prospect. Perhaps unsurprisingly, leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn denounced the minister’s report as a farce. As with all discussions surrounding Brexit, playing the waiting game always appears to be the most viable option, amid the ongoing lack of clarity.
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.