The Queen delivered the 2017 Queen’s Speech on 21 June which set out the government’s agenda for the coming parliamentary session. The speech outlined the government’s proposed policies and legislation.
This Queen’s speech announced that the government will focus on:
- delivering a Brexit deal that works for all parts of the United Kingdom and
- building a stronger, fairer country by strengthening our economy, tackling injustice and promoting opportunity and aspiration.
The supporting documentation confirms 27 Bills and draft Bills which are expected to be in the legislative programme, which will deliver on these themes. Details of the Bills that the government propose to introduce are available via the links at the end of this article.
The Speech and supporting documentation make little reference to delayed tax measures which were put on hold prior to the Election or the progress of the legislation on Making Tax Digital for Business. The reference to tax legislation states:
‘The programme will also include three Finance Bills to implement budget decisions. Summer Finance Bill 2017 will include a range of tax measures including those to tackle avoidance. The programme will also include a technical Bill to ratify several minor EU agreements and further Bills, which will be announced in due course, to effect the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The government will also be taking forward a range of other measures which may not require primary legislation.’
We will update you on developments.
Internet links: GOV.UK summary what it means Speech GOV.UK background notes
The Office for Tax Simplification has published their recommendations on simplifying the corporation tax computation.
This report sets out some significant steps towards creating a 21st-century corporation tax system in the UK, responding to calls from businesses of all sizes to make the calculation of corporation tax simpler, with fewer changes and more time to plan. The report looks at four broad themes:
- simpler tax for smaller companies
- aligning the tax rules more closely with accounting rules where appropriate
- simplifying tax relief for capital investment
- a range of further issues affecting the largest companies.
We will keep you informed of developments in this area.
Internet link: GOV.UK review CT
The National Cyber Security Council (NCSC) has published guidance for small businesses about how they can prevent, detect and respond to ransomware attacks following the widespread ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack in early May.
Further guidance has been produced by the Charity Commission for England and Wales for charity trustees on this issue.
Internet links: NCSC GOV.UK
The Small Business Taskforce has outlined its priorities ahead of the General Election.
The Taskforce which is made up of 14 organisations, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Enterprise Nation and the Entrepreneurs Network, has set out six key recommendations in its election manifesto to help ‘build a positive and progressive business case for Britain’.
The Taskforce is recommending the next government should provide an environment which ‘champions the role of small businesses’ and creates a tax system that supports businesses of all sizes.
They also call for the next government to provide an advantageous pensions and benefits system, supply procurement opportunities that are beneficial to all and create a workforce that is equipped for enterprise.
Clive Lewis, Head of Enterprise at the ICAEW, commented:
‘Whatever the outcome on 8 June, the incoming government must provide a solid platform for small businesses to flourish and grow.
Currently businesses are cautious about the future and are holding back on investment, therefore it’s vital that, in the run-up to the General Election, all political parties spell out how they plan to encourage businesses to invest in long-term growth.’
To read more of the Small Business Taskforce’s manifesto visit the following link.
Internet links: economia news Manifesto
The Office for National Statistics has published the latest employment statistics which reveal:
- Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between October to December 2016 and January to March 2017, the number of people in work increased, the number of unemployed people fell, and the number of people aged from 16 to 64 not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) also fell.
- There were 31.95 million people in work, 122,000 more than for October to December 2016 and 381,000 more than for a year earlier.
- The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.8%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.
- There were 1.54 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 53,000 fewer than for October to December 2016 and 152,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- The unemployment rate (the proportion of those in work plus those unemployed, that were unemployed) was 4.6%, down from 5.1% for a year earlier and the lowest since 1975.
- There were 8.83 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 40,000 fewer than for October to December 2016 and 82,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) was 21.5%, down from 21.8% for a year earlier and the joint lowest since comparable records began in 1971.
- Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 2.4% including bonuses, and by 2.1% excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
- Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) increased by 0.1% including bonuses, but fell by 0.2% excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.’
Responding to the latest data, Alpesh Paleja, CBI Principal Economist, said:
‘Rising employment continues to reinforce the importance of the UK’s flexible labour market.
However, weakening productivity and slower pay growth, coupled with rising inflation, will continue to squeeze real household earnings.
Therefore maintaining the UK’s reputation as a great place to do business, for example by increasing R&D spend to 3% of GDP by 2025, will help boost the UK’s productivity. This is the only sustainable route to higher wages, and better living standards.’
Internet links: ONS statistics CBI news