On Thursday, Westminster came to Stoke-on-Trent as Boris Johnson hosted a meeting of senior government ministers at Middleport Pottery as ‘a prime example of levelling up in action’.
The cabinet discussed how proposed legislation in the Queen’s Speech, including planning reform and the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, would benefit areas such as Stoke-on-Trent which has been described as a ‘litmus test’ for the government’s levelling up agenda, and the city has been allocated £56 million of government funding for a series of regeneration schemes, including Etruscan Square in Hanley and the Goods Yard next to Stoke Station.
The Government says that the proposals included in the Queen’s Speech will further boost Stoke-on-Trent, by supporting the creation of more jobs and homes and improving living standards.
Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech had some welcome measures for business, but unless the Government takes immediate action on the economy, they will come too late to help many firms.
Chambers have already made it clear to government that an emergency budget is needed to provide firms with the breathing space they need to raise productivity and strengthen the economy.
The costs crises facing firms and people in the street are two sides of the same coin. If we can ease the pressure on businesses then they can keep a lid on the price rises being driven by surging energy bills, staff shortages and higher taxes.
Only after an emergency budget will some of the legislation set out in the Queen’s Speech have a chance to drive our economy forward. However, it will take some pressure as we heard from Michael Gove on Wednesday that the Government is resisting this option.
Businesses will then be able to focus on supporting the missions set out in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, as well as reaping the benefits from the infrastructure programmes outlined today. However, to really speed up delivery of infrastructure projects, much wider reform of the planning system is needed to streamline the process and reduce complexity.
The Higher Education Bill gives a welcome commitment to create a flexible lifelong loan entitlement that allows adults to upskill and reskill for the changing workplace. Funding for modular learning is crucial to help people gain technical skills and ensure employers can access a skilled workforce.
The Brexit Freedoms Bill has the potential to unlock innovation and expansion in a range of new and developing technologies, especially the expanding world of Net Zero products and services.
We will want to look closely at how any changes will help business domestically but also their impact on our trade links and exports with the EU.
What we don’t want to see is deregulation for its own sake. We should not complicate our trading relationship by diverging so far it makes UK goods and services unsellable into Europe.
If you have any questions, views or concerns about the issues above please contact us email@example.com or join the debate at our virtual members lounge Virtual Members’ Lounge (staffordshirechambers.co.uk)
Refer a business – get free hospitality vouchers
Did you know that you can refer a business to join the Chambers and in return you will get hospitality vouchers worth up to £100 once they sign up to membership?
It’s a simple process, all you need to do is fill in the details on our online form and we contact the business. Once they have joined, we will inform you and you can choose your vouchers from a range of great venues including Aston Marina, Trentham Estate, The Potters Club, Doubletree by Hilton, Port Vale FC and many more.
To see how simple it is to refer a business and to view the full range of hospitality venue voucher suppliers, visit the page on our website: Refer a Business – Staffordshire Chambers
If you want to talk to us about any business issues, including funding, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org