Red tape and tax high on government agenda

Cutting £10 billion of red tape for small businesses and freezing key tax rates are among the highlights of the new Conservative government’s legislative programme.

A range of measures to reduce regulation on small businesses, making it easier for them to create jobs, was included in the Queen’s Speech, delivered on 27 May, which set out the government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session.

The government plans to introduce an Enterprise Bill, which will:

  • move forward the government’s plans to cut red tape and save businesses at least £10 billion in the life of the parliament
  • create a Small Business Conciliation Service to help resolve business-to-business disputes without the need for court action, especially over late payment
  • improve the business rates system ahead of the 2017 revaluation, including modernising the appeals system.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “This will be a no-nonsense bill to back small businesses and help create jobs.

“We will be asking businesses for evidence in the coming weeks and months. We want them to be our partners in identifying and scrapping needless burdens at home and in Europe. It’s important government gets behind small businesses – enabling them to get finance, get paid on time and get rid of red tape.”

Elsewhere, the Queen’s Speech included plans to legislate so that nobody working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage pays income tax and to introduce a “tax lock commitment”, under which there will be no rises in income tax rates, VAT rates or national insurance contributions (NICs) rates for individuals, employees and employers for the next five years.

The measure will also ensure that the NICs upper earnings limit – the point at which the employee NICs rate reduces to two per cent – is no higher than the point at which income tax increases to 40 per cent and that there will be no extension of the scope of VAT.

Link: More information on the Enterprise Bill

Link: More information on the Queen’s Speech