Queen's Speech for business: Brexit talks "intensify", foreign takeover rules on, executive pay out

William Turvill
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Theresa May Campaigns In Labour's Heartland Of North Tyneside
Theresa May's government made no mention of executive pay in the Queen's Speech (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has pledged to “intensify” its engagement with businesses as it begins to negotiate the terms of Brexit with the European Union.

In a policy paper which also stuck with a proposal to intervene in certain foreign takeover deals but dropped any mention of executive pay, the government set out its intention to “test and validate” its Brexit positions with the business community.

“Over the past 12 months the government has engaged extensively on EU exit with businesses and trade bodies across all regions of the UK,” the government said in its Queen’s Speech policy paper.

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“This has included hundreds of meetings with stakeholders from the business community, from civil society and beyond.

“As we enter the negotiation phase we will look to intensify this work in order to test and validate positions and to continue to build support from the business community as we move forward.”

Another section of the policy paper pledged that the government would “bring forward proposals to ensure that critical national infrastructure is protected to safeguard national security”.

The paper said: “The proposals will enable the UK government to scrutinise significant foreign investment only for the purposes of protecting national security and will give the UK government powers to intervene in those transactions which raise national security concerns.”

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Another policy area that was expected to effect business in the Queen’s Speech was executive pay and worker representation on boards.

In the run-up to the General Election, the Tory manifesto promised “fairer corporate governance, built on new rules for takeovers, executive pay and worker representation on company boards”. Executive pay and worker representation on boards were not mentioned in the Queen’s Speech document.

Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors, said it was “disappointing that corporate governance reform was not explicitly mentioned”.

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