Going to the Polls (yet) again!
Since my last newsletter, most people were taken somewhat by surprise when the Prime Minister announced a snap general election for June 2017.
We are still awaiting for the political parties to publish the details of their manifestos but it is clear that when it comes to businesses, employers are going to need to consider the main issues carefully.
If your business depends on migrant workers – either highly skilled globally mobile employees or those who work in the local manufacturing or agricultural enterprises, you will need to take account of the different approaches. The current Government expects to leave the single market ending the freedoms of movement that currently exist. This is likely to reduce the level of immigration, with specific exceptions in certain sectors. The Liberal Democrats have pledged to keep current regulations around immigration in place. Whether that will be practical or not, remains to be seen.
We’ve heard that the Government is planning the Great Repeal Bill to deal with the changes in legislation that will have to take place when the UK leaves the EU. The idea is that worker protections derived from the EU will be incorporated into UK law. When this happens, it may be possible to repeal or amend bits of them. Those most likely to be adjusted relate to the Working Time Directive and TUPE. The major parties have said that they will maintain or extend employee protection in general, but how they do this is likely to differ.
The Labour leader has already pledged a £10 minimum wage by 2020 if they take power. The National Living Wage has already increased recently to £7.50, so that would be a 33% increase over the next three years. If your business relies on workers and employees being paid at the statutory minimum rates, this could have a significant impact on your cost base.
In the last election the Conservatives pledged not to raise income tax or national insurance, leading to the recent U-turn by Philip Hammond in the Spring Statement when he initially announced changes to NI arrangements for some workers, until he was reminded of the manifesto pledge. Whether they will renew that pledge for the coming election remains to be seen.
There will be other issues that arise over the course of the next month but the result will be of great consequence to the future of the UK’s businesses, so although we may be suffering from “voter fatigue” it is important that whatever your views, your vote is counted.
Posted on 27 Apr 2017