Business groups respond to policies announced in 2023 King's Speech

08 Nov 2023

Business groups, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), have responded to the policies and changes set out in the 2023 King's Speech.

King Charles delivered the King's Speech on 7 November, outlining a range of changes to government policies.

The Speech was King Charles' first as monarch, and he was the first King to oversee the State Opening of Parliament since George VI in 1950. It included a Leasehold and Freehold Bill, which will ban leaseholds for new houses; a pledge to strengthen consumer rights online in the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill; and a Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which outlines plans for a phased ban on smoking.

The CBI stated that the King's Speech 'offered an opportunity to inject momentum into the economy'. John Foster, Chief Policy and Campaigns Officer at the CBI, said: 'The critical moment will be when the Chancellor delivers the Autumn Statement . . . , where action to unlock business investment, deliver an internationally competitive business environment and seize high growth opportunities can help ignite the economy.'

Meanwhile, the BCC said that the Speech 'opened with an aspiration to increase economic growth', but 'failed to outline how that will happen'. Alex Veitch, Director of Policy at the BCC, commented: 'The businesses we represent need 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 Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) stated that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt now has 'a good opportunity to build on the King's Speech with clear, sharp action in the upcoming Autumn Statement'. Martin McTague, National Chair of the FSB, said: 'The emphasis on steering inflation back to its target underscores the need for prudent decision-making.

'Equally crucial is taking action on late payments, under pressure sectors and the advancement of skills. It's important for the Autumn Statement to empower the self-employed to deduct training expenses from their taxable income so the UK can keep pace with economic and technological change.'

The Chancellor will deliver the 2023 Autumn Statement on 22 November.