Queen’s speech 2015: Key announcements for small businesses

Enterprise bill, changes to income tax and development of HS2 confirmed in Queen’s 64th state opening of parliament

Yesterday, in what was her 64th state opening of parliament, the Queen announced the plans of the newly-formed Conservative government, which included measures to “raise the productive potential of the economy” and help small businesses create jobs.

With an emphasis on “a long-term plan to provide economic stability” – we’ve outlined the key announcements that business owners need to be aware of…

Enterprise bill

Following business secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement last week of the government’s new enterprise bill, it has been confirmed that the Conservatives have proposed £10bn worth of cuts to red tape and the introduction of a Small Business Conciliation service. Other core elements of the bill include business rates reform with changes to the appeals system and extension of the Primary Authority scheme to “streamline” regulation across the country.

Income tax, VAT and National Insurance

Legislation is to be brought forward to ensure people working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage do not pay income tax, and there will be no increases in income tax rates, VAT or National Insurance for the next five years.

Infrastructure – High Speed 2

The government wants legal powers to construct and operate phase 1 of the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway to connect London and the Midlands. The scheme is intended to help “bring greater prosperity” to the Midlands and the North.

Building a “Northern Powerhouse”

Alongside construction of HS2, the government plans to introduce legislation that will enable the devolution of powers to cities with elected metro mayors with the goal to encourage economic growth in the North. 

Childcare

The government has detailed plans to “greatly increase the provision of free childcare”, rising entitlement to 30 hours a week of free childcare (for 38 weeks of the year) to eligible working parents of three and four year-olds.

EU referendum

An in-out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union has been proposed to take place before the end of 2017.

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