The Queen’s Speech which sets out the new Government’s proposed legislative programme. There are a significant number of items that have implications for the tourism industry as follows:
- Agriculture Bill
This Bill will reform the UK’s agriculture policy, moving away from the CAP system to a more environment-based approach to farm subsidies. With the rural environment being one of the UK’s most significant tourism assets, this Bill will have significant implications for the future development of rural tourism.
- Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill
This Bill will end the free movement of EU nationals into the UK and set the framework for a new points-based immigration system to be introduced in 2021. As our recent research has highlighted, finding people with the skills needed by tourism businesses is going to be one of the industry’s most significant issues post Brexit and we will be lobbying hard on your behalf that this Bill takes account of soft skills such as languages.
This Bill will protect and enhance workers’ rights as the UK leaves the EU. This includes measures such as establishing a new single enforcement body on workers rights and replacing the current voluntary Code of Practice for tipping with legal obligations on employers to pass on all tips to workers in full. It will also:
- Introduce a new right for all workers to request a more predictable contract.
- Extend redundancy protections to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
- Allow parents to take extended leave for neonatal care; and introducing an entitlement to one weeks leave for unpaid carers.
- Subject to consultation, make flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to.
Cost of Living
A range of measures are to be introduced including
- Increasing the NLW to two-thirds of median earnings within five years (projected to be around £10.50 an hour in 2024)
- Reduce the age threshold for the NLW from 25 to 21 within five years
- Establish a new £1 billion fund to help create more high quality, affordable childcare
National Disability Strategy
The Government will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People in 2020 which will support disabled people in all aspects and phases of their life. This will obviously have a overlap with the disability objectives in the Tourism Sector Deal.
- National Infrastructure Strategy
The National Infrastructure Strategy will be published alongside the first Budget, setting out further details of the Government’s plan to invest £100 billion in the UK’s infrastructure and will set out the Government’s long-term ambitions across all areas of economic infrastructure including transport, local growth, decarbonisation, digital infrastructure, infrastructure finance and delivery.
New legislation is proposed in order to roll-out gigabit capable broadband across the UK in order to achieve nationwide coverage as soon as possible
- Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill
This Bills aims to make aviation travel quicker, quieter and cleaner by modernising our airspace. As well as modernising the licensing framework for air traffic control, the Bill will also give the Government powers to direct an airport or other relevant body to prepare and submit a proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority to change the design of their airspace.
- Airline Insolvency Legislation
This new legislation comes in the wake of the Thomas Cook collapse and will be aimed at protecting passengers in the event of an airline going bust by reforming the insolvency process to make sure the industry can get passengers home quickly and effectively when an airline collapses. One of the key elements will be to keep the company’s aircraft flying long enough for passengers to be repatriated
- Railways Minimum Service Levels Legislation
The aim is to reduce the disruption caused to the public during rail strikes and, while aimed at commuter travel, should also help leisure and tourism travel. The key element will be establishing Minimum Service Agreements setting out the minimum service pattern to be provided during rail strikes, and the minimum number and nature of staff who shall work to provide that service.
- Railway Reform and HS2 Bill
The Government will publish a White Paper on the Williams Review recommendations focused on ending complicated franchising model and creating a simpler, more effective system. The Government is also awaiting the review of the High Speed Two (HS2) network led by Doug Oakervee which is looking at whether and how to proceed with HS2,and is expecting that the High Speed Rail (West Midlands –Crewe) Bill will be revived in this Parliament.
- English Devolution
The Government will publish a White Paper setting out their strategy for English regions, which will include plans for spending and local growth funding. This will provide further information on plans for full devolution across England, levelling up powers between Mayoral Combined Authorities, increasing the number of mayors and doing more devolution deals.
- Business Rates
The Government states that it is committed to conducting a fundamental review of business rates but says that further details on the review will be announced at a later date. It is, however, committed to increasing the retail discount from one-third to 50 per cent, extending that discount to cinemas and music venues, extending the duration of the local newspapers discount, and introducing an additional discount for pubs. It will also bring in legislation to bring forward the next business rates revaluation by one year from 2022 to 2021 and move business rates revaluations from a five-yearly cycle to a three-yearly cycle.
- Environment Bill
The purpose of this Bill will be to put environmental principles into law, introducing legally binding targets and establishing a new Office for Environmental Protection. This will include improving air quality by setting legally-binding targets to reduce fine particulate matter air quality, mandating ‘biodiversity net gain’ into the planning system and introducing charges for specified single use plastic items
- Thomas Cook Compensation Bill
This Bill will support those customers of Thomas Cook facing the most serious hardship as a result of life-changing injuries, illness or loss of life to be able to claim compensation through the scheme by providing the legal basis for making payments.
- Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill
This Bill will provide a small number of temporary measures essential to the operation of the 2022 Commonwealth Games including protecting commercial rights and prohibiting the unauthorised resale of tickets.