THE QUEEN’S speech was delivered to parliament yesterday outlining the government proposed legislative programme for the next year including 11 new bills.
Some of the most important announcements for the foodservice and hospitality sector came under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. Her Majesty set out targets to ensure small firms are given fair access to government and other public sector procurement stating: “Legislation will be introduced to help make the United Kingdom the most attractive place to start, finance and grow a business. The bill will support small businesses by cutting bureaucracy and enabling them to access finance.”
Under the same bill, the Queen also announced that: “Legislation will be introduced to provide for a new statutory code and an adjudicator to increase fairness for public house tenants” an encouraging move by the government which Footprint previously reported here.
Tougher penalties for employers who fail to pay the minimum wage will be also enforced to “crackdown” on the abuse of zero hour contracts.
New plans for a 5p charge on plastic bags in England were set out in an effort to help protect the environment and supermarkets will start charging shoppers from October next year. However, under the Infrastructure Bill, a proposed change to the trespass law may allow fracking companies to run pipelines underneath private land without the owner’s permission and there was little mention of other green policies associated with climate change.
Other measures announced included:
- Intention to increase the number of apprenticeship places to 2 million by the end the end of the current Parliament
- A Modern Slavery Bill introducing tougher penalties for human trafficking
- A bill allowing employees to pay into collective pension funds which are shared with fellow workers
- A bill offering extra legal protection for people being sued for negligence if they acted in the public interest
- A state-funded childcare grant of up to £2,000 a year, replacing the current employer-funded
- Limits on "excessive redundancy payments" for highly-paid public servants
- Stricter rules to seize the assets of crime bosses, tackle cyber-crime and make possession of written paedophilia a criminal offence
- Giving voters the power to prompt by-elections when MPs have committed serious wrong-doing