Queen’s Speech: Norfolk Chamber welcomes focus on improving education quality

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce commented: “Norfolk businesses will welcome the limited package of legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech and Ministers are right to focus on measures that can help boost growth, and seem to have gotten the message that when it comes to new legislation, less is more. 

Although there was no new Bill for education, the Government’s focus is on improving the quality of education for young people.  However, we would like to see more emphasis placed on preparing young people for employment, through comprehensive careers education.  A lot of energy is being invested in promoting vocational training.  Businesses would be even happier if the Departments for Business and Education could present a joined-up, single system in relation to this type of training.

As part of the Chamber’s theme for ‘unlocking potential of Norfolk’s young people’ we are keen to see the business community and schools interact to ensure tomorrow’s workforce is not only educated, but is aware of the potential career opportunities in this region, such as offshore renewables, advanced technologies and  life sciences.”

Also commenting on the Queen’s Speech, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:  “The key for business is delivering on the government’s existing commitments, whether on infrastructure, energy, or education and training. Businesses are impatient to see real progress and real benefit emerging on the ground, not just the completion of Westminster and Whitehall processes.”

John Longworth’s comments on other issues arising in the Queen’s Speech can be found below:

On a consumer bill of rights (Draft Consumer Rights Bill):
“Consolidating the vast amount of legislation on Trading Standards’ powers into one piece of legislation may benefit consumers. However, any simplification of consumer law must not add new burdens for businesses.”

On deregulation (Deregulation Bill):
“Business welcomes the government’s efforts to deregulate, and remove needless red tape that prevents companies of all sizes from growing, innovating, and creating employment. Proposals around employment and health and safety law must be implemented without delay to increase business confidence, and allow firms to focus on growth.”

On pensions (Pensions Bill):
“The introduction of a single tier state pension brings much greater clarity for pension savers, as well as parity for the self-employed. The government must ensure there is as much flexibility as possible for firms required to end contracting out, particularly given the decision to implement this reform as early as 2016.”

On high speed rail (High Speed Rail Preparation Bill; Hybrid Bill):
“The inclusion of these Bills is a welcome reaffirmation of the government’s commitment to radically transform the capacity of the UK’s congested rail network. Business wants the Preparation Bill to receive cross-party support and a smooth passage through Parliament, leading to a Hybrid Bill in the near future.”

On utilities (Energy and Water Bills):
“The government must ensure that the Energy Bill is not subject to any further delays that would hinder the future security of the UK’s energy supply or discourage private sector investment.  The lack of competition in the English water market has meant that English businesses have received a poorer service than customers in Scotland. Ensuring genuine competition between water suppliers is good news for businesses in England.”

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