BUSINESS and regeneration representatives have given a mixed reaction to the measures unveiled by the Prime Minister in today’s (Tuesday, May 10) Queen’s Speech.

Rachel Anderson, assistant director of policy at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said measures to enable local growth and further the levelling up agenda were ‘welcome’, as was the green energy commitment which will boost the region’s low carbon and green energy sectors. But she said the Chamber would have liked a commitment to new nuclear in that bill.

Read more: The scathing assessment of the Queen's Speech from North East MPs

She added: “What was more disappointing is that there were no emergency measures to tackle the cost of living crisis and no further commitment to transport development in the North of England.

“We await further details on the Government's plans for deregulation, however any measures must be introduced in full consultation with business.”

The Northern Echo: Prince Charles delivers the Queen's Speech Picture: PAPrince Charles delivers the Queen's Speech Picture: PA

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill needs to be more ambitious about tackling the productivity gap at the root of the north-south divide.

He said: “Tarting up town centres and tweaking planning regulation is not enough to rebalance our economy - Treasury needs to get on board.

“100 per cent devolution was first proposed in 2019 under Theresa May but reluctance from Government departments like the DfE and individual councils has stalled it for too long.

“A reserve power with a Metro Mayor and combined authority model as default would prevent any single council blocking progress when local communities and business are both supportive.”

Ben Franklin, Director of the Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) was critical about the measures, saying they represented ‘another nail in the coffin of the Government’s levelling up agenda’.

He said: “The Levelling Up Bill falls way short of the mark, failing to even attempt to address the economic challenge the government was elected to tackle.

“An over-reliance on small-scale funding pots for local areas is no replacement for the transformative levels of investment required to turn the tide on entrenched regional inequalities.”

The Northern Echo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) with the leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer ahead of the State Opening of Parliament Picture: Toby Melville/PAPrime Minister Boris Johnson (right) with the leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer ahead of the State Opening of Parliament Picture: Toby Melville/PA

Meanwhile, Martin Tugwell, chief executive of Transport for the North, welcomed the references made in the speech about improving transport and delivering on the levelling up agenda.

He said: “It is reassuring to hear clear mentions of the need for rail reform in today’s Queen’s Speech, something that we and our region’s political and business leaders have been calling for and contributing to.

“Combined with a focus on innovation and decarbonisation, and underpinned by the ongoing commitment to levelling up, this is a welcome commitment to enhancing connectivity."

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Boris Johnson said today that the 'aftershocks of Covid-19 and the biggest war in Europe since 1945' are causing disruption around the world, with all major economies facing cost-of-living pressures.

He said £22 billion is being made available to address the cost of living and cut household bills, but he said every pound of taxpayers’ money spent on reducing bills was money being taken away from investing in the long term to bring prices down.

Mr Johnson also said the Government’s top priorities are growing the economy, making streets safe, and supporting the NHS to clear the backlogs built up during the pandemic.

Prince Charles delivered the Queen’s Speech today and Her Majesty’s mobility problems meant she missed the lavish State Opening of Parliament ceremony for the first time in 59-years.

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