Business groups respond to legislative agenda

The Government's plans for the new parliamentary session have been outlined in the Queen's Speech. Proposals of interest to businesses include those around national insurance contributions, consumer rights and deregulation.

Among the proposed bills outlined in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday 8 May 2013 were:

  • National Insurance Contributions Bill
    From April 2014, every business and charity will be entitled to a £2,000 Employment Allowance towards their employer national insurance contributions (NICs) bill. Employers will also be prevented from using offshore companies to avoid paying NICs 
  • Draft Consumer Rights Bill
    Updating laws governing consumer rights, particularly with regards to digital downloads, and amending and consolidating legislation on the Trading Standards Institute's powers 
  • Draft Deregulation Bill
    Reducing the regulatory burden on businesses, building on work already under way with the Red Tape Challenge and the 'one in, two out' rule. A focus on health and safety and employment regulations.

Reactions from leading business groups

On NICs, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, John Cridland, said:

"The surprise £2,000 National Insurance rebate in the Budget will give smaller firms the confidence to take on extra staff.

"Extending the General Anti Avoidance Rule is sensible. No one can condone abusive avoidance schemes which serve no commercial purpose other than the minimisation of tax - even if they are legal."

On consumer rights, the British Retail Consortium's director general, Helen Dickinson, said:

"As part of competing for business, retailers often offer customers much more than minimum legal consumer rights. That won't change but, based on our discussion with the Government, we believe this legislation will modernise sale of goods law in several important areas including time limits for returns and rights over buying digital content."

On deregulation, John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"Business welcomes the government's efforts to deregulate, and remove needless red tape that prevents companies of all sizes from growing, innovating, and creating employment. Proposals around employment and health and safety law must be implemented without delay to increase business confidence, and allow firms to focus on growth."