My Lords, the gracious Speech said a lot of really good things: build a stronger economy so that the United Kingdom could compete and succeed in the world; strengthen Britain’s economic competitiveness; ensure that interest rates are kept low and that people who work hard are properly rewarded; invest in infrastructure-I could go on. It is terrific.

However, when I was making my maiden speech, as the noble Baroness, Lady Lane-Fox, did today, in the same debate on the economy, I was advised: “Don’t worry about what’s in the gracious Speech; you can speak about things that are not in the gracious Speech”. I congratulate the noble Baroness on an excellent maiden speech. I am delighted to have a fellow entrepreneur in the House, and on the Cross Benches too. She spoke passionately about online inclusiveness, and I am sure that from now on all Peers will be online. Of course, we already are.

What is missing? What has been picked up in a huge way is Europe. The noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, said that to him this was like Groundhog Day-déjà vu. I am not going to go into that topic. Europe is going to go on for a long time. The eurozone crisis has not gone away. There are regular lulls before the storm, but that storm is still about to come and it will be a perfect storm. I believe that we need to start with a clean sheet of paper and renegotiate our position in Europe. I say every day, “Thank God we are not in the euro”.

As an economy, we may have lost our triple-A rating but our interest rates are low and our inflation is relatively low. However, although we have avoided a triple dip, we are bumping along the bottom. We need to generate growth. What worries me is the Government’s priorities in achieving this. Why did we waste so much time pushing through employees giving up their rights for shares? This was against the will of business. It was twice sent back by the House of Lords to the House of Commons. It has gone through in a watered-down way. The lesson that I have learnt from this is that I could see very clearly that the Government had not consulted business properly first or listened to it. One of my favourite sayings in business is that good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement. Will the Minister confirm that the Government have learnt from this mistake?

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