In this issue: Key bills for manufacturers outlined in Queen's Speech | In the media | Week in review | The week ahead | Blogs from this week
Weekly Focus: Key bills for manufacturers outlined in Queen’s Speech
The Queen’s speech on Wednesday 27th May outlined the Government’s forthcoming policies and proposed legislation, including proposed bills for an EU Referendum and devolution of power to cities. 21 new bills were outlined in the speech, and a number of these will be of particular relevance to UK manufacturers.
The EU Referendum Bill will pave the way for a referendum to allow the electorate an in-out vote on the UK’s membership of the EU before the end of 2017. EEF is urging the government to have the referendum as soon as feasibly possible, before the end of 2016, to limit the potential fallout for business and investment uncertainty.
The Immigration Bill will reform the UK’s immigration and labour market rules, so that the demand for skilled migrant labour is reduced. It will crack down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers and boost removals and deportations of illegal immigrants. There will also be a consultation on funding apprenticeship schemes for British and EU workers by implementing a new visa levy on businesses that use foreign labour. EEF has raised concerns over the ‘punitive’ visa levy for businesses and will continue to engage with Government on the dangers of restricting firms’ abilities to recruit workers from outside of Europe.
The Enterprise Bill will seek to significantly cut red tape to save businesses at least £10bn over the Parliament and make it easier for small businesses to resolve disputes quickly and easily. It will also create a Small Business Conciliation Service to help business-to-business disputes, especially over late payment, and introduce other measures to help strengthen the UK’s competitiveness and support businesses to create jobs. EEF is urging Government to relentlessly focus on getting all regulators, in all sectors, to do their part in lowering the cost and burden of business regulation.
The Trade Unions Bill will introduce a 50% voting threshold for union ballot turnouts, and introduce a requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action in certain essential public services (health, education, fire and transport). EEF has highlighted that this bill needs to balance the objectives of ensuring that ballots properly reflect the views of all trade union members and provide a mandate for timely, specific industrial action.
The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill will fulfil the Government’s commitment on devolving power and budgets to boost local growth in England. It will provide the legislative framework necessary to deliver the Greater Manchester deal and other future deals – both in large cities which choose to have elected mayors and other places. EEF has said that city mayors are not the end of the devolution story and that Local Enterprise Partnerships also play an important role in rebalancing growth.
The Finance Bill will ensure there are no rises in income tax rates, VAT rates or National Insurance contributions rates for individuals, employees and employers. EEF has expressed concern that both ring-fencing public sector spending budgets and outlawing any tax rises could mean the only taxes left to raise could unintentionally hamper investment and wealth creation.
For more information on the Bills and EEF’s engagement on these issues, contact Paul Raynes, Policy Director
In the media
EEF’s response to the Queen’s speech was reported in The
Financial Times (subscription required) and The
Our call earlier in the week for an EU referendum to be held as soon as
feasibly possible was reported in The
Times (£), The
Daily Telegraph, The
Daily Mail, The
Independent and The Daily Express (link unavailable). Chief Executive Terry
Scuoler was also interviewed on BBC Breakfast, BBC News and BBC Radio 5Live.
Daily Telegraph also mentioned EEF in an article on the Carbon Price Floor
tax and business’ calls for it to be repealed by the new government.
For more information contact Sophie Carroll, External Affairs Executive
Week in review
GDP, 2nd estimate
ONS’s second estimate of GDP confirmed that output grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year and manufacturing output increased by 0.1% in the same period.
The week ahead
1 June: Manufacturing PMI
Blogs from this week
20 May 2015 - Export Week and Eurovision by Madeleine Scott