Six most crucial business measures from the Queen's Speech

27 May 2015 -


We take a look at the key provisions that managers and business leaders should take away from this year’s edition of the Parliamentary ritual

Jermaine Haughton

Amid the traditional pomp and ritual of today’s State Opening of Parliament, Her Majesty revealed a 26-bill package from Prime Minister David Cameron that he called a ”programme for working people” which would “bring our country together”. There was also a touch of history to the event: following the Tories’ victory at this month’s General Election, it was the first Conservative Queen’s Speech in almost 20 years.

While much of the build-up focused on the upcoming EU referendum and a scrapping of the Human Rights Act – a process that has now been put on the back burner – there was confirmation of several other, specific pieces of legislation that would pique interest in the arena of management and leadership…

1. Enterprise Bill

In the interests of spurring cash flow to growing firms, the government promises a new Small Business Conciliation Service that could ease late-payment disputes between small and large companies. Additional proposals include a further reform of the business tax levy before its 2017 revaluation, and a dramatic reduction of the red tape that small businesses face. That would be overseen by an independent regulator, with the aim of saving startups £10 billion in admin costs.

2. Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill

One of the biggest gripes for small and medium-sized businesses outside of London is the lack of investment infrastructure. With Greater Manchester set to elect its first mayor in two years, with powers over transport and town planning, the government hopes that further devolution of powers to the English regions will stimulate economic growth in the country’s former industrial giants – helping to build – as the Queen has now said for the first time – a “northern powerhouse”.

3. HS2 Bill

This measure continues to hang over from the previous Parliament, as legal powers to build and operate the London-to-Birmingham, first phase of the high-speed rail link are still subject to debate in both chambers. With a targeted finishing date for the scheme of 2026, the government hopes that the project will receive Royal Assent by the end of next year, with work to begin in 2017.

4. Immigration Bill

Backed by a pledge to put “hard-working British families first”, the measures will make it an offence for businesses and recruitment agencies to hire workers from abroad without first advertising in the UK. Furthermore, police have been given the power to seize the wages paid to illegal workers.

5. Trade Unions Bill

In an attempt to limit disruption to businesses, the government plans to impose a 50% turnout threshold for standard union strike ballot turnouts, with that set to be even higher for “essential services” such as health. following a ballot for industrial action, the Government also wants there to be time limits placed on when unions can carry out strikes.

6. Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill

This is set to expand the existing “Troubled Families Programme” by requiring jobless 18 to 21 year-olds on the Youth Allowance to take up apprenticeships or other forms of training to continue receiving their benefits.

Enterprise Research Centre director Stephen Roper – a professor at Warwick Business School – said: “The business proposals in today’s Queen’s Speech embody both innovation and irony. One of the more innovative proposals in the Queen’s Speech is the establishment of a Small Business Conciliation Service with a focus on settling disputes between small and large businesses. This is welcome – but the government could have been more ambitious. The proposed Conciliation Service will only benefit small firms involved in disputes.

“Ironically,” he added, “the other main enterprise proposal in the Queen’s speech is for a ‘de-regulation regulator‘ – a body to oversee progress in removing red tape. Removing unnecessary red tape is always welcomed by businesses. Whether an oversight body will help with this only time will tell. The biggest negative from a small business perspective is the uncertainty caused by the forthcoming European referendum. This may discourage some firms from investing in expanding European sales.”

Image courtesy of Dutourdumonde Photography / Shutterstock.

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