1. ITV Report

Unions and business leaders react to Queen's speech

Nick Clegg and David Cameron. Photo: Reuters

Unions and business leaders have reacted to the Government's proposals for the year ahead after they were set out at the Opening of Parliament.

Commenting on the proposals for business, which include the establishing of an independent adjudicator to ensure supermarkets deal fairly and lawfully with suppliers, Sainsbury's Chief Executive Justin King said businesses need "consistency".

The former member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, David Blanchflower, who is a critic of the Chancellor George Osborne, has mocked the Government's economic policies announced in the Queen's Speech:

Business owner Jo Place. Credit: ITV News

Jo Place, owner of a children's shoe business in Gosforth in Newcastle, has told ITV Tyne Tees about how some of the Government's measures in the Queen's Speech to help small businesses do not go far enough.

She says they need to cut business rates and force councils to scrap parking charges.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has described the bill to provide clean and affordable electricity, mentioned in the speech, as "crucial legislation":

The Energy Bill would reform the electricity market to keep the lights on and emissions down in a more cost-effective way, while reaping the economic benefits.

It is designed to provide investors with long-term certainty and incentives to invest in low-carbon.

This legislation would reach the statute book by 2013 so that the first low-carbon projects can be supported under its provisions in 2014.

Reacting to the proposals for pension reform, The National Association of Pension Funds Chief Executive Joanne Segars said: "This is another big step towards a simpler, more generous state pension that no longer penalises people for saving. A new system will take millions out of means-tested benefits and will encourage people to take control of their own age by saving towards it."

But commenting on public sector pension reform, Mark Serwotika, the General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union said: "Confirmation that the Government intends to plough on with unpopular, unnecessary and unfair cuts to public sector pensions is disappointing but not unexpected.

"Ministers have consistently refused to negotiate with us over the key issues of forcing public servants to pay more and work longer for less in retirement, and that is why hundreds of thousands of them will be on strike tomorrow."

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