Her Majesty has been to Parliament today for the pomp and circumstance of a State Opening once again. Below I take two key points made in her speech and look at what they mean for employers and employees.
Good news for business- employers will be exempted from the first £2,000 of their National Insurance
payments in an effort to create jobs and spur growth. Will it work? Let's hope so.
The latest attempt to curb
immigration involves restrictions on access to NHS services (it isn't yet clear at what stage GPs or surgeons will ask to see a patient's passport) and a requirement for landlords to
check the immigration status of prospective tenants or face heavy fines- as employers do now. Speaking of which, plan are afoot to 'substantially increase' the fine imposed on employers who fail to carry out immigration status checks on employees or contractors. It can be £10,000 per worker at present, but no details have yet been set out on what they'd like it to rise to.
Illegal migrants will also be prevented from obtaining
driving licences (Can anyone clarify this? I assumed that has been the case anyway as surely applying to DVLA for a licence of any type flags up your presence in the UK...)
The Queen's Speech (written for her by Government) says that an immigration bill would aim to "ensure that this
country attracts people who will contribute and deter those who will
not". This is all well and good, but there are many come to Britain (or who already live here including UK citizens) who are willing to work and just cannot secure suitable, long term or meaningful employment. It doesn't mean they won't contribute- just that they are unable to.
There isn't much in the way of changes to employment law (but we've had lots recently, and there is still a raft of changes to come.) Let's keep our fingers crossed that the NI initiative itself proves a good move and helpful to businesses looking to create jobs.
Lastly, how great might it be if the Queen wrote her own speech, telling us what SHE, as our Head of State, would like to see happen in our country? I imagine we'd all be directed to keep corgis. But at least the hats would be fantastic.