Progress please - business reacts to Queen's Speech

The Queen prepares to make her speech at the State Opening of Parliament. Photo: Press Assocation

If the government is to be believed when it says getting the economy going is its first priority then ministers might be rather underwhelmed by response of business groups to the Queen's Speech today.

Rather than hailing any of the measures as a great panacea for our serious problems, 'Progress Please' might sum up their polite but rather firm responses.

There is even from some quarters a welcome for the fact that the speech was not stuffed with new ideas for legislation. Isn't it bizarre to welcome a lack of ideas?

Perhaps, but the point made publicly today by groups reacting to the speech, and time and time again privately by bosses is that the government can not fix the economy on its own but it must actually do what it has said it was going to do, and quickly.

Whether that is on speeding up decisions on energy infrastructure, or making the state backed Business Bank work, companies are not necessarily clamouring for the government to 'do more' - that refrain we hear time and again without ever quite pinpointing its meaning.

The 'Gherkin' and Canary Wharf at sunrise in the City of London. Credit: Press Association

But today's response to today's Queen's Speech illustrates they want ministers (mostly) to stick to what they said they would do and get on with it. Many big businesses won't be comfortable with a tougher approach on immigration, fairly or not, rhetoric that suggests the UK is not welcoming to other nations rarely goes down well.

But unlike a Budget, the Queen's speech is often a rather strange occasion anyway - a formality rather than the day when new ideas are formed, a day for political messages rather than practical change.

I've been at a busy conference this morning with hundreds of representatives from building societies and financial services. What was going to be in the Queen's speech was a question that passed no-one's lips.

You can see the reaction from business groups to the Queen's Speech here:

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