This morning’s Queen’s speech outlined the government’s programme for the next parliamentary session and gives a good idea of the government’s intentions on certain key issues. Pension reform featured heavily in the speech with two new Bills being announced. The Pension Tax Bill aims to give people discretion over the use of their retirement funds, whilst the Private Pensions Bill aims to increase employees control over their pensions.
The speech included plans to promote small UK business by reducing regulation and improving access to finance via the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. This Bill will also aim to clamp down on excessive redundancy payments in the public sector. This will mean that public sector employees who had been earning over £100,000 will have to repay some proportion of their redundancy package if they are subsequently rehired in the same part of the public sector within 12 months. It was also announced that penalties for employers who fail to pay minimum wage will also be increased, while the government will aim to make contracts for low paid workers fairer.
It was announced that powers to prevent modern slavery will be strengthened using the Modern Slavery Bill and that the path towards shale gas extraction will be opened up via the Infrastructure Bill. The speech also mentioned legislating for the recall of MPs by constituents, creating a new offence for the emotional neglect of children and the introduction of a 5p charge for plastic bags in England.
11 new Bills have been announced in the Queen’s speech this morning:
· Childcare Payments Bill
· Infrastructure Bill
· Modern Slavery Bill
· National Insurance Contributions Bill
· Pension Tax Bill
· Private Pensions Bill
· Serious Crime Bill
· Recall of MPs Bill
· Service Complaints Bill
· Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill
· Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill
Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill
This Bill will aim to promote new business in the UK by reducing regulation of small business and improving their access to finance.
The Bill will also enact higher penalties on employers who fail to pay minimum wage to their employees and aim to make contracts for low paid workers fairer.
There will also be new measures to “limit excessive redundancy payments across the public sector”.
The Infrastructure Bill will open “up access to shale and geothermal sites” as well as “maximising North Sea resources”. The Bill will also aim to enable “all new homes to be built to a zero carbon standard” and will “guarantee long term investment in the road network”.
The Bill will aim to increase home ownership and the housing supply by “reforming the planning system, enabling new locally-led garden cities and supporting small house building firms”. The government will also be legislating to sell off valuable government land and to increase housing.
National Insurance Contributions Bill
The Bill will aim to tackle the avoidance of paying national insurance contributions and “simplify their collection from the self-employed”.
Modern Slavery Bill
The Bill will aim to “strengthen the powers to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking whilst improving support for victims of such crimes”
This Bill will aim to improve attainment and health of children by ensuring that “all infants will receive a free school meal”. The Bill will also extend free childcare to “more of the most disadvantaged two year olds”.
A Bill will also be introduced “to help working families with childcare costs”.
Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill
The Bill will aim to “provide that where a person acts heroically, responsibly or for the benefit of others, this will be taken into account by the courts.”
Serious Crime Bill
The Bill will aim “to tackle child neglect, disrupt serious organised crime and strengthen powers to seize the proceeds of crime”.
Recall of Members of Parliament Bill
The Bill will legislate “on the recall of Members of Parliament” by their constituents when they have been found guilty of serious wrong doing.
Service Complaints Bill
The Bill will create an ombudsman to improve the way complaints are handled in the armed forces.
Pension Tax Bill
The Bill will aim “to give those who have saved discretion over the use of their retirement funds”. Therefore people over 55 will be able to withdraw their savings from defined contribution pensions and will not need to buy a lifetime annuity.
Private Pensions Bill
The Bill will increase the control that employees have over their pensions. It will allow for innovation in the private pensions market and “extend the ISA and Premium Bond schemes and abolish the savers’ ten pence tax rate”.
He was formerly Head of Policy at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). With degrees in history and economics from the Universities of Oxford and London, Jake is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a trustee of the European Association of Philanthropy and Giving and advises several governments on public policy. He also advises clients on CSR and philanthropy activities.
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