Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, hails the government’s “solid start” as he responds to the new legislative programme laid out in today’s Queen’s Speech
The Institute of Directors has responded favourably to today’s Queen’s Speech with its director general, Simon Walker, hailing the focus on reducing red tape for SMEs.
“The government has got off to a solid start in the new parliament with a focus on reducing red tape for small and medium-sized businesses. But good intentions are nothing without delivery, and companies will be looking to the business secretary to spell out exactly where he will find £10bn worth of cuts to regulation,” said Walker.
“While IoD members are opposed to increases in the rates of VAT, income tax and national insurance, we consider it imperative that the government’s commitments do not prevent bold tax reforms to both simplify taxation and reduce the burden upon businesses and individuals. Ensuring that the UK tax system remains responsive to tax reforms introduced by our European and global competitors must be a government priority.”
It was the first Conservatives-only Queen’s Speech in nearly two decades. Also announced in the 26-bill package is more devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, plus “English votes for English laws” at Westminster, a measure welcomed by the IoD.
“The biggest economic opportunity of this parliament comes in the bill on devolution within England. Business leaders across the country stand ready to work with local authorities and mayors to take greater control of decision-making in areas including transport and planning in order to promote growth and employment,” said Walker.
David Cameron’s pre-election promise to hold a referendum on UK membership of the European Union by the end of 2017, was also confirmed, with the IoD urging the prime minister to negotiate reform of Britain’s relationship with the EU.
“Now that the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union has been confirmed, the most important thing is that the prime minister gets on with the business of negotiating reform. The status quo is not an option for IoD members, who want reform in the way the EU works to give individual governments more control in managing their labour markets and economies.
“We understand the government must be responsive to public concerns on immigration, and responsible businesses will have no objections to crackdowns on illegal workers or employers who break the rules. But proposals to charge employers who employ migrants an additional levy will add further costs on top of visa fees.”
A survey of 1,211 IoD members conducted immediately after the general election, found 85 per cent supported plans to run a budget surplus by the end of the parliament. The poll also found that business leaders think deficit reduction should be achieved primarily through spending cuts rather than tax rises. Over half of IoD members strongly oppose increases in national insurance, income tax, VAT and business rates.