The new government’s legislative plans for the year ahead have been unveiled in the Queen's Speech to Parliament today. Many of the plans will have significant impact, whether directly or indirectly, on small businesses across the UK.
The key Bills are summarised below:
This Bill will include measures to reduce regulation on small businesses in a bid to boost job creation. It will seek to cut red tape by £10bn and requires independent regulators to contribute to the target. It also proposes a new Small Business Conciliation Service to help settle disputes between small and large businesses especially over late payment practices. It aims to improve the business rates system ahead of the 2017 revaluation.
EU Referendum Bill
This will pave the way for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. David Cameron promised to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the 28 member bloc and put it to a public vote by 2017 at the latest.
Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill
This Bill is designed to achieve full employment and provide more people with the security of a job. Ministers will be required to report annually to Parliament on their progress. The legislation will also implement a planned reduction on the welfare cap and freeze working age benefits, tax credit and child benefit for two years
National Insurance Contributions and Finance Bill
This Bill is designed to enact a series of tax pledges. Specifically it would ensure that there would be no rise in Income Tax rates, VAT or National Insurance before 2020 and that no one working 30 hours on the minimum wage would pay any Income Tax at all. It will also commit to raise the threshold before which people pay income tax to £12,500.
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill
This paves the way for powers over housing, transport, planning and policing to be devolved to England’s cities as part of the government’s plans for a “balanced economic recovery”. Cities that want them will be able to have elected mayors.
Under the proposals parents in England will be entitled to 30 hours a week of free child care for their three and four year olds for 38 weeks of the year.
Trade Unions Bill
The main elements of this Bill are a 50% voting threshold for union strike ballot turnouts, and a requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote must back action in essential public services. Time limits will also be introduced on a mandate following a ballot for industrial action.
Education and Adoption Bill
Designed to raise standards in schools new powers would be brought forward to speed up the process of changing a failing schools leadership and turning it into an academy. The Bill will give the education secretary new powers to force local councils to hand over responsibility for adoption to another agency.
The government proposes to establish the Oil and gas Authority as an independent regulator, charged with regulation of domestic oil and gas recovery. Measures will be introduced to increase energy security and ensure there will be affordable and reliable energy for businesses and families.
The Immigration Bill is designed to support working people, clamp down on illegal immigration and protect public services. It will include a new offence of illegal working. Amongst other measures it will become an offence for businesses and recruitment agencies to hire abroad without first advertising in the UK. A new enforcement agency will be set up to tackle what the prime minister called the worst cases of exploitation.
The government is pressing ahead with legislation that will enable work to start on the 50bn Hs2 high speed rail link.
Other Bills included; Housing Bill, Scotland Bill, Wales Bill, Northern Ireland Bill, Psychoactive Substance Bill, Extremism Bill, Investigatory Powers Bill, Policing and Criminal Justice Bill, Armed Forces Bill, Bank of England Bill, Charities (protection and social investment) Bill, Votes for Life Bill, European Union (Finance) Bill, Buses Bill.
Find out more here.