December 2019 Queens Speech – reaffirms NIC and NLW proposals

The Queens gracious speech on 19th December 2019 set out the new government proposals. Some are relevant to payroll and employment.

Exiting the European Union

‘My Government’s priority is to deliver the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 January. My Ministers will bring forward legislation to ensure the United Kingdom’s exit on that date and to make the most of the opportunities that this brings for all the people of the United Kingdom. Thereafter, my Ministers will seek a future relationship with the European Union based on a free trade agreement that benefits the whole of the United Kingdom. They will also begin trade negotiations with other leading global economies‘.

National Insurance and National Living Wage changes

‘My Government will bring forward measures to support working families, raising the National Insurance threshold and increasing the National Living Wage’.

National Living Wage

● The Chancellor has pledged that the National Living Wage will increase, reaching two-thirds of median earnings within five years (projected to be around £10.50 an hour in 2024), provided economic conditions allow.

● The Government plans to expand the reach of the National Living Wage which currently applies to people over the ages of 25, to those aged 21 and over within five years.

● These changes are expected to benefit around 4 million low paid workers. National Insurance Contributions

● The Government is committed to cutting taxes for hard-working families by raising the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year. This will be a tax cut for 31 million people, with a typical employee paying around £100 less in 2020-21.

Childcare

● The Government will establish a new £1 billion fund to help create more high quality, affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the holidays.

● The funding will go to schools and childcare providers to open up more options to families. Our ambition is for 250,000 more primary school children to get onsite childcare over the summer holidays.

● The Government has committed to not raise rates of VAT, income tax and National Insurance.

Older people

● The Government has committed to keep the triple lock, the winter fuel payment the older person’s bus pass and other pensioner benefits.

Flexible Working

Measures will be brought forward to encourage flexible working, to introduce the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers and to help people save for later life.

The government had already announced plans to ensure that employees receive their tips, and right to work law and its impacts on employment will be changed as a result of leaving the EU.

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