Kate Brooks
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services
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Date Published:11 Mar 2016 Last Updated:28 Jul 2021

What does the Queen’s speech mean for employment?

Employment Law Advice

The Queen’s speech 2015 took place recently and set out the government’s legislative plans and ambitions for the year ahead. Several important issues were addressed during the Queen’s speech and the main focus was the government’s long-term plan to strive to provide economic stability and security throughout the UK. The EU Referendum Bill was also a hot topic.

The Bill will allow for an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. David Cameron has undertaken the task of re-negotiating our membership with the 28 other members and has promised to put it to a public vote by 2017 at the latest. There have even been suggestions that the vote could take place as early as Autumn 2016. Depending on the outcome of David Cameron’s negotiations and the public vote, we could see a very different landscape for Britain in future which could significantly impact both employees and employers.

Unemployment and Apprenticeships

The government intends to bring forward legislation to address unemployment and provide people with more opportunities and prospects of securing a job. Ministers are now required to report annually on their progress in this regard and one of the main areas where change is expected to be is apprenticeships. This will hopefully mean that there will be more people in employment and we should see an increase companies offering apprenticeships and training schemes – which is undoubtedly a good thing.

Income Tax

At present, people in minimum wage jobs are struggling to make ends meet. The government intends to combat this by ensuring that those who work 30 hours a week and receive National Minimum Wage will not pay income tax. The current rate of income tax is 20% so it will certainly save individuals some money and those who are affected should see a marginal increase in their income.

The promise of no tax rises for the next 5 years

The government has promised that there are no rises in Income Tax rates, Value Added Tax or National Insurance for the next 5 years which is good news all round!

What does the Queen’s speech mean for employment?

The government has made promises to combat unemployment and try to assist those people who are unable to find a job, or are receiving National Minimum Wage, to build a life for themselves and stand on their own two feet. How much of a difference will these proposed changes make? Only time will tell but we will certainly look forward to following the changes and finding out.

For a Bill-by-Bill review of the Queen’s speech, we would recommend the BBC NEWS website which goes into further detail of the proposed changes. The GOV UK website has also provided a helpful summary of the speech.