Sara’s Blog: Kings Speech big on rhetoric but shy on detail and New Member Friday event

Sara Williams

On Tuesday Charles III opened the first King’s Speech in Parliament for more than 70 years, telling MPs and peers the government would make “difficult but necessary long-term decisions” to change the UK for the better.

Whilst the King’s Speech opened with an aspiration to increase economic growth, it failed to outline how that will happen. We know only too well from daily dealings with members that firms need more help in dealing with inflation, interest rates and a challenging labour market.

The Government could, and should have gone further, to help companies in challenging times. We hope the Autumn Statement later in the month will provide more certainty for businesses.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has already submitted a letter to the Chancellor containing 23 recommendations that Chambers across the UK believe could put the economy on the best footing possible to absorb further shocks.

It is disappointing that the King’s Speech did not include further planning reform in England. We continue to call for a faster and more efficient system that enables business to grow.

Latest data from the BCC’s Insight Unit shows investment flatlining. And the BCC Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3, showed only 23% of respondents were increasing investment whilst concern over the impact of high interest rates is growing, reaching 45%.

We welcome positive signs that the Government is listening to our calls for a modernised energy grid system. Building on the recent Energy Act, we will be looking closely at the detail to see if connections will be improved for businesses.

The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill recognises we will need to continue using the UK’s oil and gas reserves during the transition to a net-zero future. However, we need to hear much more about the Government’s proposals for renewables. Reopening the political dividing lines on Net-Zero feels like a slap in the face, damaging business confidence and investment plans.

There is some encouragement in the mention of increasing high quality apprenticeships. The skills crisis is one of the main issues impacting business.

Boosting exports is a key ingredient for economic growth and we welcome The Trade Bill. But the government must do more to shift the dial on global trade.

As always, I would urge you to speak to our policy advisor Declan Riddell about any issues affecting your business. And I am sure many of the issues above will be the subject of debate in our member forums which you are all welcome to attend. You can contact Declan about any issues or for more information on our member forums by emailing

I was also privileged to meet King Charles on Wednesday as I collected my OBE from him – we talked about the leadership needed for helping businesses work towards a net zero future. It was a fantastic day  – supremely well organised, very ceremonial but also very friendly – and I feel extraordinarily grateful to have received such amazing recognition.

If you are a member who has joined in the last few months, then it would be great to see you at our ‘New Member Friday’ event at Commerce House on Festival Park on Friday 24th November.

These events offer an informal introduction to Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and all the benefits you receive as a member.

You will get the chance to meet your dedicated account manager who will support you in all aspects of your membership, answer any of your questions and ultimately help your business to thrive.

It is also a perfect opportunity to meet our other new members and enjoy some informal networking in our Members’ Lounge.

While you are with us, you can also enjoy a tour of Commerce House taking in around our Members’ Lounge, meeting rooms and event spaces to ensure get the maximum value from your membership.

You can book your free place on the New Member Friday here:

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, including funding, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222, call the Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: