From The Top

The Queen’s Speech 2016: Good for the digital economy, bad for business rates

Hannah Wilkinson | 18 May 2016 | 8 years ago

The Queen's Speech 2016
Delivered by the monarch, the speech is written by the government
In a speech delivered by the monarch and written by her government, The Queen has outlined prime minister David Cameron’s plans to improve broadband speeds and allow mayors to increase business rates to fund infrastructure projects.

Highlighting the government’s commitment to technological innovation, the speech also fleshed out details of a Digital Economy Bill which compels companies big and small to get the consent of recipients before sending them promotional emails.

Additionally, the Queen announced a new household right to fast broadband due to be introduced over the next 12 months but made no mention of whether this will be extended to small firms.

prioritising the digital revolution, which is transforming the face of modern business, is a key step to propelling the UK’s productivity. Ensuring that broadband reaches all corners of the country will breed a new generation of companies in an increasingly competitive environment, said Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director-general.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry welcomed the package of policy proposals in general but argued that commitments to fast broadband should also cover business premises.

there are a number of bills announced today which could have a big impact on small businesses and their ability to grow. A key theme appears to be improving the workings of dysfunctional markets and investing in key infrastructure, he said.

helping to rebalance the economy and deliver growth in all parts of the country will be a fundamental test of this parliament, and we are pleased this appears to be another core theme of the coming legislative programme.

The policy anncouncement also reiterated the government’s commitment to giving local authorities control of 100 per cent of revenues raised from business rates and introduced a provision in the The Local Growth and Jobs Bill that will mean mayors in England will be able to add a supplement to business rates to fund infrastructure projects.

The new Higher Education and Research Bill will attempt to tackle the UK’s skills shortage problem by removing barriers to the setting up of new universities while an Intellectual Property Bill promises to make it easier for company owners to settle disputes out of court.

In a further boost to the UK’s tech industry, the speech showcased the government’s commitment to encourage investment in driverless cars over the next year.

“Today’s Queen’s Speech reinforces the need for the UK to continue investing, both financially and logistically, in order to remain at the cutting edge of new vehicle technology – from propulsion systems to autonomous vehicles, said Phil Harrold, partner at accountancy firm PwC.

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