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How new Bills in Queen’s Speech will impact on businesses

The Queen’s Speech outlined several Bills that could have a significant impact on businesses. The government says the main theme behind most of its proposals is to strengthen the UK’s competitiveness and to create conditions that will enable companies to create more jobs.

These are some of the main proposals:

Enterprise Bill

This aims to save businesses at least £10billion over the life of this Parliament by cutting red tape. This will be achieved by deregulation and by obliging regulators to design and deliver services that best suit the needs of business.

The Bill will also create a Small Business Conciliation Service to help firms resolve disputes, particularly complaints about late payments, without the need for court action.

Other measures include improving the business rate system before the 2017 revaluation and modernising the appeals system.

Trade Unions Bill

This will introduce a 50% minimum voting threshold for the turnout in union strike ballots and retain the requirement for there to be a simple majority of votes in favour of the action being decided.

In addition to the 50% minimum turnout threshold, there will be a requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action involving certain essential services such as health, education, fire and transport.

The Bill will also tackle the intimidation of non-striking workers during industrial action, and introduce a transparent opt-in process for the political fund element of trade unions subscriptions.

National Insurance Contributions/Finance Bill

This will ensure that there are no rises in income tax rates, VAT rates or National Insurance Contribution rates for individuals, employees or employers for the next five years.

Immigration Bill

The aim is to control immigration and put British working families first. The Bill will introduce an offence of illegal working. It will provide a legal framework for the wages of illegal workers to be seized as proceeds of crime.

The government will carry out a consultation on the possibility of introducing a skills levy. This would seek to fund apprenticeship schemes by imposing a new visa levy on businesses that use foreign labour.

It will be illegal for employment agencies to recruit solely from abroad without advertising those jobs in Britain and in English.

A new single agency will also be created to crack down on employers who exploit illegal migrants.

The Bill will also build on the landlord scheme established in the Immigration Act 2014 and make it easier to evict illegal tenants.

EU Referendum Bill

This would “enable a referendum to allow the electorate to have an in-out vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union before the end of 2017”.

The government faces extensive negotiations with our European partners before any referendum takes place but if the UK does eventually leave the EU, it will have huge implications for businesses across a number or areas including regulation and employment law.

Speaking about all the measures in the Queen’s Speech, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We have a mandate from the British people, a clear manifesto and the instruction to deliver. And we will not waste a single moment in getting on with the task.”

We shall keep clients informed of developments.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any legal matter relating to running your business.

You can read the The Queen’s Speech in full here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/430149/QS_lobby_pack_FINAL_NEW_2.pdf