Digital Economy Bill unveiled in Queen's Speech to aid UK SMEs

19th May 2016 | News

UK small businesses are set for a major infrastructure boost after this week’s Queen’s Speech featured new measures to help ensure the country “remains at the forefront of the global 21st Century economy”.

The 21-Bill agenda featured a Digital Economy Bill, designed to give every household and every business premises a legal right to a fast broadband connection; establishing laws to ensure telecommunications services provide better, more reliable broadband infrastructure and enable customers to receive automatic compensation if they have problems.

In addition, the Modern Transport Bill will aim to create new jobs and fuel economic growth using the approval of the UK’s first commercial spaceports, as well as new laws for driverless cars and commercial drone flights for businesses.

The Local Growth and Jobs Bill was also on the agenda, giving local authorities total control of money raised through business rates to entice more businesses and investment into their local economies.

Alison Vincent, CTO, Cisco UKI, said: “The Digital Economy Bill and the resulting measures announced by the Queen today are a clear reflection of Britain’s commitment to a digital future and emphasise a continued drive towards establishing the UK as a digital world leader.

“By laying the foundations and establishing broadband as an essential pillar to the future of the UK economy, businesses will be able to drive innovation and build a framework that will improve productivity, fuel collaboration, capitalise on business opportunity and accelerate the UK digital economy.”

Jonathan Kinsey, head of CBRE Rating, said: “After two Budget announcements and 10 devolution deals, the Queen’s Speech has finally set the ball rolling on a bill to devolve business rates to local authorities.

“While the devolution of business rates to all councils won’t be completed until 2020, the long-awaited bill will set out a framework for delivery of the scheme.”