The CBI commented on possible new legislation expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech.
Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:
“With the economic recovery gathering momentum and broadening out, we want the final session of Parliament to help embed growth and job creation for the long-term, delivering prosperity for all. At this stage of a parliament businesses don’t want to see a raft of new legislation.”
On infrastructure and growth, Ms Hall said:
“The Government has talked a good game on infrastructure but the pace of delivery has been sluggish.
“Improving the pre-application phase of the planning process and moving towards a one-stop-shop for planning consents, should help to streamline the system and get much-needed projects over the start line and onto the home straight. But more than anything else we need to see bold political will to achieve this.
“Transforming the Highways Agency into a Government-owned company, with flexible five year budgets, would stop it from getting bogged down in stop-start cycles and enable it to act more strategically and deliver improved road networks.”
On pensions, she said:
“We welcome the Government’s aims to boost choice and flexibility in the pensions market, so employers can choose the scheme that works best for them and their employees.
“But it’s really important that any new options are properly worked through with employers, who are committed to pensions but find Defined Benefit schemes too expensive and Defined Contribution not always suitable for their workforce.
“Collective Defined Contribution schemes would not be for everybody. While they could mean better returns, less risk and lower funding requirements, savers need to understand that even in retirement their pots could decrease because there are no individual controls over how pensions are drawn down.”
On small business and enterprise, she said:
“Changes to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to tender for public sector contracts, including a one-off registration process are much-needed.
“Growing businesses rely on cash flow and are too often hampered by late payers, so we back a ‘comply or explain’ system for payment terms of more than 60 days.”
On employment, she said:
“All employers should pay the National Minimum Wage, so we would support the introduction of an increased fine for those who intentionally do not, and strong enforcement to ensure that the law is respected.
“The UK’s flexible labour market is a strength of our economy, keeping the number of people out of work down and boosting employment – it should be protected.
“A ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts would be a proportionate response to some of the issues that have been highlighted, as it focuses on poor practice rather than demonising flexible work in general.”
On childcare, she said:
“Often parents with young children are put off returning to work because of the prohibitive costs of childcare, so extra money would help support more people back into jobs.”
On company law, she said:
“Businesses back the creation of a beneficial ownership register which will support efforts to promote transparency and stamp out illicit financial activity. As the UK has chosen to make this a public register, ensuring that others follow will be critical to its future success and to maintaining a level playing field.
“Measures to strengthen the directors’ disqualification regime would help make the UK’s already strong company law and corporate governance regime even better.”