Given the many leaks and pre-emptive announcements which have come out in the couple of weeks since the Conservatives came to power, there were few surprises in today's Queen's Speech, which llists the new laws the Government plans to pass in the next year. This includes bills to lower the benefits cap, tighten the laws on extremism and extend 'right to buy', alongside those more directly related to business, which MT has summarised below.
As expected, the Government will legislate to hold a referendum by the end of 2017. This has been a contentious pledge among businesses, with some welcoming the chance to have their say and negotiate a new deal and others warning against the dangers of uncertainty that will loom over the economy until the vote is resolved.
New business minister Sajid Javid has claimed this will cut red tape for small businesses by £10bn. It's still not clear exactly what that will consist of, but Javid says he wants to get regulators 'off firms' backs.' The bill will also introduce a new conciliation service in a bid to tackle the scourge of late payments.
The Government's much derided law to ban itself from putting up taxes will be introduced. This will apply to income tax, VAT and national insurance. Another bill will guarantee that those working 30 hours or less will continue to pay no income tax.
Working parents of three- and four year olds will be able to claim 30 hours per week of free childcare, for 38 weeks per year.
The government will make being an illegal immigrant a crime. Yes, you heard that right. In practice what this actually means is stiffer penalties for illegal workers, including allowing the police to seize their wages. A new agency will be created to tackle the exploitation of migrant labour.
A bill will introduce a 50% voting threshold for turnouts in trade union ballots and is also expected to include measures to prevent intimidation of non-striking workers.
High Speed 2
Remember HS2? After years of faffing around, the bill to approve construction of a high-speed link between London and Birmingham is still not on the statute book. Spades are not expected to break ground until 2017.