Queen?s Speech 2016
18 May 2016
There were no major revelations to directly affect the payroll profession in the Queen’s Speech today, however there will be a new Pensions Bill and there was much to note of general interest with the introduction of 21 new Bills.
The Queen’s Speech takes place at the start of each Parliamentary session and sets out the government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new session.
The Prime Minister said that this is a One Nation Queen’s Speech from a One Nation Government and that it uses the opportunity of a strengthening economy to:
- deliver security for working people;
- increase life chances for the most disadvantaged; and
- strengthen our national security.
The Speech included confirmation of many previous commitments made by government in the March 2016 Budget.
The Pensions Bill is to further reform Britain’s private pensions system by:
- Providing better protections for members in Master Trust pension schemes – including millions of automatically enrolled savers.
- Capping early exit charges to ensure that excessive charges do not prevent occupational scheme members from taking advantage of pension freedoms.
- Providing access to a straight forward private pensions guidance service for customers by creating a new pensions guidance body by bringing together the Pensions Advisory Service, Pension Wise and the pensions services offered by the Money Advice Service.
- Creating a new money guidance body which would replace the Money Advice Service and be charged with identifying gaps in the financial guidance market to make sure consumers can access high quality debt and money guidance.
Devolution: There are no devolved administration interests in respect of Scotland or Wales. Northern Ireland makes its own legislation in relation to pensions. The money guidance bodies will operate UK wide, and financial services is a reserved matter. However, devolved administration issues may arise due to links with financial education (devolved).
The Digital Economy Bill will include:
- Giving every household a legal right to a fast broadband connection.
- New laws to help telecommunications providers build the infrastructure needed for faster broadband and better mobile networks.
- Allowing consumers to be automatically compensated when things go wrong with their broadband service.
Devolution: Communications, broadcasting and intellectual property are reserved matters (where only the UK Parliament can pass laws).
The Lifetime Savings Bill will include:
- The new Help to Save scheme, which will help those from low incomes build up their savings. Workers in receipt of working tax credits or Universal Credit who save up to £50 a month will receive a Government bonus of 50% - to a maximum of £600 – after two years.
- The new Lifetime ISA for young people, with a Government top up bonus of 25% on all savings up to £4,000 a year.
Devolution: Applies to the whole UK.
Work will continue on the Bills that are already in progress such as the Wales Bill, High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill and the Policing and Crime Bill. And work will also continue with other commitments such as Seven day NHS in England, the Northern Powerhouse, National Security and support for working people (including the new National Living Wage).
Other new Bills include the Modern Transport Bill which will include legislation to enable the future development of the UK’s first commercial spaceports and new laws to make the UK ready to pioneer driverless cars.
The Local Growth and Jobs Bill will include a transfer of up to £13 billion to councils through allowing them to retain 100% of the business rates they collect and new measures to allow combined authority mayors to levy business rate supplements in order to fund infrastructure projects where there is the support of local business.
The Education for All Bill will include new laws to expand the academies programme in the poorest performing local authority areas and a new funding formula to deliver fair funding for every school and pupil in the country.
The Prison and Courts Reform Bill will include new powers for Prison Governors to allow them unprecedented levels of control over all aspects of prison management and a complete overhaul of education, health and training to reduce re-offending and give people the chance of a fresh start.
The Bill of Rights will include measures to reform and modernise the UK human rights framework and protections against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws.
The Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill will include stronger powers to disrupt extremists and protect the public.
The Criminal Finances Bill will include measures to reform proceeds of crime legislation to allow the government to recoup more illicit income and make it a new criminal offence for corporations that fail to stop staff facilitating tax evasion.
The Small Charitable Donations Bill will allow thousands of charities and community amateur sports clubs to maximise fundraising power by reforming the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to ensure it supports the maximum number of charities and donations possible.
To read the Queen’s Speech and for further detail in associated documents go to GOV.UK.