Today saw the delivery of the first all-Conservative Queen’s Speech since 1996 as Her Majesty set out the government’s newly revised legislative plans. From increased childcare and high speed transport to tax locks and new laws for working people, we’ve put together a summary of key highlights so you know what you can expect as a small business owner.
The Queen announced today that Britain will continue to play a prominent role in major global affairs, declared a new in-out vote law set by the EU Referendum Bill and pledged a reformation of the Human Rights Act. However, we want to consider today’s legislations on a much smaller scale and take a look at how the government’s efforts will effect small businesses and the country’s economic productivity. Cameron dubbed this year’s speech a “Queen’s Speech for working people” and it’s from this ground level perspective that we want to recount it.
The Enterprise Bill will cut red tape to help businesses save around £10billion and is also promising much improved business rates. The bill will also introduce the new Small Business Conciliation Service to help solve disputes between companies over issues such as late payments. Business Secretary Sajid Javid is championing the Enterprise Bill as a vehicle through which the Tories can fast track our “nation of shopkeepers” to economic growth.
The Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill:
This section of the speech has been the one subject to most speculation as David Cameron was expected to pledge for relief on crippling tax rates. A tax lock commitment was indeed announced this morning that promises no rise in tax rates, VAT or National Insurance for the next five years. Ahead of today’s speech Cameron had claimed that this would be “the centre piece of the first Queen’s Speech of [his] government”. A triple lock on state pension increases will remain in place also.
This bill is also set to:
Freeze working age benefits and child benefits for 2 years and lower the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000.
Remove automatic right to housing benefits for 18-21 year olds.
Increase Personal Tax Allowance to £12,500 to ensure people working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage are not paying income tax.
Abolish six-figure redundancy pay outs from the public sector.
New anti-extremism measures are to be taken in attempts to gain control including Extremism Disruption Orders, banning orders and closure orders. This bill also means that as an employer or boss, you will now be able to run checks on employees to establish if they are part of an extremist group and then ban them from working with children should you see fit.
New measurements are also going to be taken to control the ongoing (and often controversial) issue of immigration. The Immigration Bill will make an offence of illegal working and allow police to seize wages paid to illegal migrants, ban employment agencies solely recruiting overseas and force banks to act on accounts held by illegal migrants. The bill includes a new levy on firms looking to foreign labour to fund apprenticeships for British and EU workers.
Child Care Bill:
Thanks to the new Child Care Bill, parents will now be entitled to 30 hours of state-funded child care per week for children aged 3-4 years. Striking the right balance between parenthood and business can be a challenge, especially when trying to launch your own start-up venture so increased child care allowance might give you the breathing space you need. This bill could compliment the new parental leave legislation that was introduced earlier this year.
Other highlights include:
A blanket ban on the new generation of drugs so that the Home Office doesn’t have to tackle legal highs one by one. Maximum sentence will now reach 7 years.
Strikes will be blocked unless 40% off all eligible union voters agree that industrial action needs to be taken.
New powers will be introduced to allow failing schools to be converted into academies.
Regional efforts to increasing the rate of adoption.
Reiteration of the Tory pledge to provide seven-day GP access as well as an £8billion increase in funding by the close of the decade.
Progress of the construction of a high speed rail service between London and the West Midlands.
New starter homes will grant first time buyers a 20% discount.
Housing association tenants will now be given the right to buy their properties.
Council will be obliged to provide plots of land for self-builders.
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